Case Study #127 | Read the Fine Print
Nationwide Power™ is the leading provider in the critical power supply industry. Our core business is the sales and service of uninterruptible power supplies and UPS batteries, along with supporting other critical power components such as emergency generators, switch gear, and HVAC. We publish critical power related case studies, highlighting best practices and quality standards. In this case study, we review the full-service contract terms of another service provider, in attempts to educate our customers on how the terms of service can impact their out-of-pocket cost.
There is no argument that the strongest level of protection for any UPS system includes a full-service contract. In the event of an error or system failure, with a full-service contract, the provider will come to your site and complete all diagnostics and repairs at no additional cost. However, we have discovered that some service providers have included provisions in their contracts that drastically limit their coverage levels.
In the example below, the service provider gives the customer the opportunity to add on additional service levels. However, in the fine print, the additional services selected are only covered for a portion of the contract period. In this example, it is the customer’s responsibility to thoroughly read and understand the fine print in its entirety.
At Nationwide Power, we believe in transparency first and foremost, and our full-service contracts are indeed full service. Here are a few questions to ask other service providers to ensure you are truly comparing apples to apples when reviewing service contracts from different providers:
- What parts are not fully covered for the entirety of the service contract?
In the example above, the customer would pay a surcharge for the added coverage, only for that coverage to expire after the first 6 months of entering the service contract.
- How many field engineers are physically located in your service zone?
If you encounter an emergency situation with your critical power equipment, you will want to know how quickly a Critical Power Professional™ will be able to arrive on-site. Believe it or not, some companies will position themselves as having a national footprint, only to fly their field engineers across the country. Not only is this an expensive way to provide preventive maintenance, but it becomes nearly impossible to respond to emergency situations.
- What is the “out-clause” in the service agreement?
A reputable and qualified service provider understands and is confident in the value of their service, and therefore does not lock customers into iron-clad, long-term contracts. If your service contract does not have a 30-day out-clause, keep looking.
- What type of on-hand inventory does your company house?
Some independent providers merely act as middle men with very little warehouse inventory or none at all. There are also independent providers that resort to storing their inventory in outdoor areas where equipment and parts are subject to whatever weather conditions exist throughout the year. Look for a company with ample parts and equipment inventory on-hand that are properly stored to ensure lasting quality. Additionally, if your equipment is approaching or has passed EOL (end-of-life) recommendations, ask specifically what parts that company has available to service your equipment. The most cost-effective solution for your equipment may be part replacements. However, if the service provider does not have access to those parts, they will recommend new equipment despite your best interests or budgetary needs. Check out our recent new article on Why Size Matters.
You can find more on Finding the Right UPS Service Provider here.
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