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General Chat Thread, Photocopier Lease/Service Scam in General; I'll think you'll find that yes the reports allegations are true; however it is a shame that in only covered ...
  1. #16

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    I'll think you'll find that yes the reports allegations are true; however it is a shame that in only covered the now-defunct companies (LTM & DTS) there are still quite a few others out there (and if not toxic from the top down - there are the individuals that worked for these organisations - where are they now!?!).

    I understand injunctions may have stopped other stories making the show!

    With regards to this scam the real thing was nothing to do with price i.e. a laptop that should of been x hundred costing y thousand - the schools took them on the understanding of them being "free" - no cost!!! Very naive - too good to be true always is that! They signed a document as far as they were concerned to say they "received the goods" not to pay for them - of course it was exactly that - LTM or DTS would pay for a while and then stop - having taken the lease capital upfront from the bank(s).

    I was approached by Panorama, Matthew Chapman (Producer) and met with them at the start of the summer and was looking forward to this show with excitement - I must say I've been left disappointed. Although the very least is that people will now be more aware!

    So if you need any advice - I'm happy to help - it'll be free! - Or will it, remember you get nothing for free, but if you need some help just get in touch. There are a lot of good companies and people out there, just take the advice I see previously, rely upon your IT and make a business decision based upon at least 3 quotations - remembering that cheapest isn't always best.

  2. #17

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    What did you think of the show - I was rather disappointed?

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by david_tulip View Post
    What did you think of the show - I was rather disappointed?
    In what way? There was a lot of rumours and sharp practice from other places that they could have covered but as they've got to keep out of the court room they were always going to limit their accusations of criminality to people and companies they could actually prove were criminals. They were never going to name names on anything subjective like value for money.

    And lets be honest, while there's no excusing the behaviour of the firms discussed at all, their 'victims' didn't exactly come out of this smelling of roses (claiming the salesman "refused to leave" until the deal was signed indeed. Love to see them try that where I work...)

    It kinda harps back to my point about people who are ill-equipped to take those decisions taking them without reference to their advisors... and even for primary schools, it is perfectly possible to have good technical staff around to give advice - some of the high profile members of this forum are from primary schools and very much prove the point about the quality of technical advice that could be available to primary school head-teachers if they looked for it.
    Last edited by Roberto; 25th September 2012 at 09:53 AM.

  4. #19
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    I watched it with interest myself last night, but I just don't know how in this day and age these educated people, actually believed that these computers were completely free to begin with and then did not read through or mull over what they were signing, like has been said, I wouldn't be pressurised into anything especially given the obvious financial implications, I have had cold callers at the office once or twice and they get nothing, be it over the phone or in person where I previously worked.

    The old adage in that "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is" and "theres no such thing as free", I mean you only have to watch things like watchdog or any consumer show to see that these types of scams happen all the time, yet people still get sucked into them.

  5. #20

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Actually, there are plenty of things that are free out there, whether run as Social Enterprises or even stuff as simple as Open Source software ... telling schools that nothing is free (ie it has a direct financial cost for hardware / licence) is not that same as saying that there may be other costs / risks associated with it.

  6. #21


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    So if these computers/laptops/photocopies/pet dogs were 'free'.. What on earth did the contract-signers think they were paying for?
    (I missed the show D: I was busy.)

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Actually, there are plenty of things that are free out there, whether run as Social Enterprises or even stuff as simple as Open Source software ... telling schools that nothing is free (ie it has a direct financial cost for hardware / licence) is not that same as saying that there may be other costs / risks associated with it.
    Of course there are things that are free and worthwhile in terms of software, actual physical hardware though is not so massively available that I am aware, obviously things like social enterprises, grants and schemes do exist, but in terms of this program last night, it seemed fairly obvious from the interviews featured that the people involved did not carry out a lot of Due Diligence to roll out the buzzword/cliche, it was clear watching it that the people felt pressured or just signed stuff without failing to go through it all I felt, looking at the costs involved with it all seemed to be very excessive, i.e. a photocopier being priced up at 174k should have set all manner of alarm bells ringing for some of the people involved I felt.

    I am just glad from watching it that a lot of people will get some sort of education of the practices involved, I know a lot of LEAs are issuing guidelines and rules now about leasing of IT equipment, which can only be good going forward.

  8. #23

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    The scam itself was pretty ingenious, I thought. It prays on the greed of the HT seeing the word free and not reading the small print. I can see how a lot of Primaries could get suckered in, but how does it get past a competent bursar in a secondary school?

    I understand how the scam works and where, initially, the money was actually coming from to pay for the laptops so they at least appeared free in the beginning. What I don't understand as where the schools thought the money was coming from to pay the leasing cost? I'm also unsure of the schools relationship with the bank, who did the school sign the lease with? I know the bank want their money back but surely the schools were never customers of the bank in the first place?

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    I'm also unsure of the schools relationship with the bank, who did the school sign the lease with? I know the bank want their money back but surely the schools were never customers of the bank in the first place?
    The way leasing often works is that the school/business signs up to take a loan from the bank, but the principal is paid to the arranging company who then use it to supply the equipment.

    Our printer lease - which our accountant and Bursar went through with a fine tooth comb and are 100% certain is not a scam - works this way. We pay the lease repayments direct to the bank, not to the company who supplied the equipment. If that company goes under, the printers are still ours and we still make the repayments. The problem is when schools are told that someone else is making the repayments but then sign a document that says the opposite.

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    I wouldn't betoo harsh on the schools staff who fell for these scams, these were cunningly thought out, divulging only the information necessary to do the deal. The costs were not pointed out, probably hidden in the small print. I do think that the contract should have to have approval through the governing body prior to being entered into, with this being backed up by some legislation perhaps. That might deter the stubborn salesman who threatens to stay put unless he got a signature.
    Also, going by the property these people owned, I think they 'got' quite a few deals done.

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    The way leasing often works is that the school/business signs up to take a loan from the bank, but the principal is paid to the arranging company who then use it to supply the equipment.

    Our printer lease - which our accountant and Bursar went through with a fine tooth comb and are 100% certain is not a scam - works this way. We pay the lease repayments direct to the bank, not to the company who supplied the equipment. If that company goes under, the printers are still ours and we still make the repayments. The problem is when schools are told that someone else is making the repayments but then sign a document that says the opposite.
    All of our leases are like this - the lease is held with a finance company, which in some cases is a division of a bank.

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    The way leasing often works is that the school/business signs up to take a loan from the bank, but the principal is paid to the arranging company who then use it to supply the equipment.
    Maybe some mis-reporting on the Beebs part then, or I misunderstood what the program was saying. They were suggesting that the school signed the lease with DTS/LBT, almost strong armed on the spot, and it was DTS/LBT who got the loan from the bank. Where as your description makes more sense with DTS/LBT effectively being agents for the bank.

    Still can't work out were the schools thought the money was coming from to pay these leasing costs?

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by david_tulip View Post
    What did you think of the show - I was rather disappointed?
    I've had my hands on some DTS 'free' laptops and Panaroma told it exactly the way that one happened. My disappointment is that even though Panorama spelt out what happened V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y W-I-T-H P-R-E-T-T-Y P-I-CT-U-R-E-S some folk here still don't understand the relatively simple plot.

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Still can't work out were the schools thought the money was coming from to pay these leasing costs?
    There are an awful lot of people out there, even in schools, who think we routinely get something for nothing. Remember, that's why its legal for us to install single-seat licences across the entire school and photocopy entire textbooks without charge.

    (I also remember the bemusement from our sports department last year when our head declared that he thought we'd be able to get a Team GB medallist to open our new sports centre without an appearance fee.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto View Post
    <SNIP>

    And lets be honest, while there's no excusing the behaviour of the firms discussed at all, their 'victims' didn't exactly come out of this smelling of roses (claiming the salesman "refused to leave" until the deal was signed indeed. Love to see them try that where I work...)

    <SNIP>.
    That was THE face-palm moment for me......and these people are teaching our next generation.

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