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Windows Thread, Buying out of a support contract in Technical; Anyone had to buy themselves out of a managed service contract. Someone I know (yeah it really isn't me) has ...
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    Buying out of a support contract

    Anyone had to buy themselves out of a managed service contract. Someone I know (yeah it really isn't me) has just signed a 3 year contract without getting 3 quotes first as the supplier put frighteners on them saying contract would run out. They've signed what appears to be grossly overpriced and the tech that turns up for half a day is not particularly helpful and is very possessive over who can have what access (eg 3 weeks to get password to allow staff to install drivers for home printer!) to the point that he's being obstructive*. As its a small school there is no in-house tech expertise which is why I've been asked to help. We've organised introduction meetings with 2 other local managed service providers and initial impressions are much better and quotes are less for more service. We're contacting other schools in the area that use these providers for references.

    With so little of the new 3 yr contract used we think its going to be cheaper in the long run to get out of the new contract and start a new contract with one of the alternatives.

    Anyone got any experience of this or know what options are available?



    * eg not releasing server admin password which we asked for so we could access server console to get its specification and get free disk space stats in order to spec up an upgrade/replacement/alternative. They came out with some bull story about Data protection Act (you can't let them see the server or they will have access to all your students home details and your staff records etc) and put the frighteners on senior staff so they ended up not wanting to let anyone else see the server either!
    Last edited by cjohnsonuk; 12th October 2010 at 10:42 PM. Reason: forgot to bitch about the way they treat the school

  2. #2

    teejay's Avatar
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    This is one for the solicitors to get involved with, they can probably find some way to get out of the contract.

  3. #3

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    1 - look for natural breaks in the contract (ie 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc) to see if you can opt out at some point.
    2 - Look for SLAs .. if you are going to come down hard on these teh company might opt to release you.
    3 - Look for mis-selling ... if you are being sold a certain service (and not with an SLA against it to measure it) and you feel that you are not getting that service it might be because it was mis-sold ... a large number of companies in this position will choose to allow you to opt out rather than you warn everyone about the small print.
    4 - If you are paying £x then you should get £x worth of service ...
    5 - The person signing the contract may not have had authority to put pen to paper. The company should have checked that the signatory had the authority ... and might choose to take personal action against this individual for failing to complete the contract, the school could get off with no penalty though ... and an internal review of schoo procedures identifies that you should do competitive tendering in the future.
    6 - If undue pressure was put on the school (eg threats of removal of services) then this can also be taken to court to challenge the contract. The negative press is likely to be harmful to the company so they may opt to release you.

    Remember ... it is the school's network and if the school want to allow another company, fully CRB checked, to access the equipment for independent assessment then they have to release the admin details.
    1 - Demand that the admin user and password is placed in a sealed envelope to be kept in the safe in the case of emergencies.
    2 - A full inventory is to be taken (hardware and software, including all licence documentation) to all the auditors to see what equipment is available.
    3 - A configuration log is to be created by teh company so that should they go bust the school can use the documentation with someone else.
    4 - A routine maintenance schedule is to be created so that you know certain tasks are carried out on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis ...
    5 - All of the companies activities are to be independently QAed by a governor, or their chosen representative.
    6 - The company is to produce the originals of all Enhanced CRBs of any staff who may have access to your systems and / or information on your systems.
    7 - Document all requests made to said company, including support calls.
    8 - Ask advice from your LA about data protection to stop the company trying to blag it.
    9 - where possible have regular meetings with the company rep to ensure that they are aware of your future needs for technology and to make sure they are doing what you tell them, not what they decide to do.

  4. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    kmount (13th October 2010)

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