Epson America Complaint - Save on Captial Purchases

Review by Paul Lysgard on 2009-12-27
Everyone knows who Epson is. In the restaurant and retail world, the Epson TM-T88IV thermal receipt printer is the highest selling receipt printer in the world. But, is it really the most reliable? Is it really the best?

CognitiveTPG also manufactures direct thermal receipt printers which compare very favorably with Epson. Their A799 thermal receipt printer is their premiere thermal receipt printer and is actually faster and more durable. Let's take a look at the data sheets for both manufacturers' printers.

Epson TM-T88IV Data Sheet
http://pos. epson.com/pos/pdf/tmt88iv_ds. pdf

CognitiveTPG A799 Data Sheet

Looking first at the speed of each printer, we see that the A799 printer prints at 250 mm per second while the TM-T88IV prints at 200 mm per second. The A799 wins the race there. What about durability? The A799 printer has a 3-year warranty compared with the 2-year warranty of the TM-T88IV. That means that CognitiveTPG has enough confidence in the durability of their A799 printer that they can accept the cost of repairing it for another full year compared with Epson. The A799 thermal printer was actually designed to replace the TM-T88IV printer and it is "plug 'n play".

For part number C31C636084 here's what I found:

POS Paradise www.posparadise.com C31C636084 $277.95 C31C514653 $221.95
POS Global www.posglobal.com C31C636084 $280.25 C31C514653 $225.84
Gemini Computers www.geminicomputersinc.com C31C636084 $282.35 C31C514653 $231.77
Total Barcode www.totalbarcode.com C31C636084 $280.47 C31C514653 $230.47
Barcode Giant www.barcodegiant.com C31C636084 $287.40 C31C514653 $232.40

Other companies were fairly close, but many were much higher. The A799 printer which directly corresponds to the Epson part number C31C636084 is part number A799-220S-TD00. POS Paradise price is $241.95. This is $36 less than the Epson printer and this starts to make me wonder why the Epson printer is more expensive and so I did a little research.

Epson sells their receipt printers through various distributors and resellers. They also offer "spiffs" (a dollar amount per unit sold) to the sales reps with those companies and also have contests based on units sold. For example, at BlueStar (www.bluestarinc.com) they held a contest in 2007 called "The Sky's The Limit" where during the first three quarters of the year the sales representative who sold the most Epson printers would receive a brand new Saturn Sky sports car. Obviously, if a sales representative has customers who buy direct thermal receipt printers and can make a recommendation to the customer, he'll likely recommend the Epson printer, especially when it is a very large opportunity and distributors have resellers who bring in very large roll-outs regularly. CognitiveTPG doesn't offer spiffs or hold contests through the distribution channel, so the sales person doesn't see the incentive to push their products. But, it does keep their costs lower and that's passed on to the consumer.

Speaking of large roll-outs, large retail chains and restaurant chains regularly make capital purchases of point-of-sale equipment. These companies usually replace equipment every three years. The reason is that they receive three years of depreciation expense on those purchases. The equipment usually takes a beating in their environment and after three years they need to be replaced. One large full-service restaurant chain replaced 19,200 Epson TM-T88IV receipt printers not long ago.

So, let's do a little math here. If they purchased 19,200 CognitiveTPG printers instead of the Epson TM-T88IV printers, they would have saved, at $36 each, $691,200. That's just on the initial purchase. Would they have also saved more in the long run? Absolutely. Epson's warranty on their printer is only two years and, as I mentioned, those printers usually take a beating in their respective environments and usually need to be replaced after three years. So, what happens when printers break down during that third year? If they need to be repaired or replaced, the company that owns them pays for the repair or for a replacement printer.

If, however, they had purchased the A799 printer, during that third year their printer is still under warranty. If there are problems with a printer during this time, CognitiveTPG still covers it. That, essentially, could be a fairly large savings for the retail or restaurant chain.

CognitiveTPG will also, on larger opportunities, reduce the cost per printer and will also brand the printer with the buying company's logo. So, if your company is Sears, JC Penney, or Dominos or McDonalds, CognitiveTPG will sell their printers for a lower price (through a reseller) and also put a logo on the printer. Epson, as I understand it, will only offer a "price exception" to reduce their cost per printer if it can be proved to them that a buyer is considering another manufacturer's printer and sometimes they still do not offer a price exception.

Whether a company is a large national retail or restaurant chain or if they are a relatively small chain or even a "mom and pop" shop, everyone wants to save money, especially in the financial climate that we are now in. Reputation is always something to consider when buying point-of-sale equipment. Both Epson's and CognitiveTPG's reputation are excellent, so the next thing to consider is the reliability and cost of the equipment. Clearly, CognitiveTPG's A799 thermal receipt printer has a better warranty, out-performs, and costs less than the Epson TM-T88IV printer. Remember, if you can save money, you can offer discounts to attract more customers and, in the long range, earn more money.

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