How to Avoid Costly Scams When Buying a POS Printer Online

How to Avoid Costly Scams When Buying a POS Printer Online

When looking into purchasing a POS Printer online, it can be difficult to know what to look for. And with so many decisions to make about which brand, model, and interfaces to choose, the last thing you want to worry about is who you should purchase your printer from. And yet, when buying a POS printer online, it is extremely important to ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable company so that you can be sure your new printer will last you a long time and that-- should anything go wrong-- the company where you made your purchase will have your back.


It is especially important to be careful when you are looking to purchase a POS printer from a website with multiple sellers. If you rush into purchasing from an unknown seller, you could accidentally purchase a printer that was manufactured to work in a different country than your own. These international printers can cause a myriad of problems. One major issue is that when printers are modified to work within your region, the manufacturer warranty is voided. A common (and warranty breaking) modification is the changing of European power cords to work with United States outlets and 220V / 240V power regulations required in the US.

Many printers sold in the US by disreputable businesses are sourced from western Asia. Some distributors choose to import printers from other countries to sell online because they can get them for a low price and gain more of a profit, or else sell them for cheaper to beat out competitors. These non-US printers can be a very risky buy, because they are not covered by a manufacturer warranty within the United States. Making matters even more confusing, the company supplying the printers may claim to back them-- only to retract their statement once a customer comes looking for their warranty after something goes wrong with their printer. At this point, the company is either unable to help the customer, or they will send a new non-US printer which is also not covered under warranty in the United States.


When you purchase a POS printer designed for the US market, your warranty (including for Epson, one of the most common and well-respected POS printer manufacturers) is valid in all fifty states, and your printer may be sent in to any certified repair center for a warranty repair. Epson America has many partners across the United States who are qualified to fix a printer under warranty-- assuming the printer was created for sale within the US and is not a modified international printer.
 
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make sure that you purchase from a reputable company, or to check that a printer you already purchased was designed for use in your country. So, how can you tell if you are looking at a US printer?

    1. If you are looking at an Epson model, contact the company selling the printer and request a serial number. Next, head over to https://epson.com/w/warranty and type in the number to see if it has a valid US warranty. If your printer is from the US, it will list the warranty status and the warranty expiration date. If it is a non-US printer, the warranty status and expiration will both be listed as N/A. Please view the photos below for an example of both types of results.

       Epson Warranty Valid

       Invalid Epson Warranty, non-US printer


      2. POS printers from other countries have different versions of the mainboard that are designed for those other countries. If you have already purchased your printer, and if it is an Epson TM-U220B (the most popular kitchen printer used in 99% of restaurants in the US and worldwide), you can see if it a US model by performing a self test. The photo below lists the steps needed to perform a self test on your printer. If the test displays version EAI, it is a valid US printer. However, if it shows ESC/POS, the printer was not designed for use within the United States. Note that this method only works for TM-U220B printers.

         

         How to Run a POS Printer Self Test

         POS Printer Self Test for US Printer

         POS Printer Self Test Non US Printer

         

          3. Printer dip switches are configured differently depending on the country of origin. Dip switches are essential as they help the interface work, and they need to be changed depending on interface and set up. Dip switches have to match the port on the computer used, and the switches are in different places on the mainboard depending on the country of origin. This means that the dip switch settings for US printers will most likely not work on an international printer.


            Distributors selling non-US electronics is a significant issue beyond the scope of POS printers. Barcode scanners, label printers, and scales are also at risk, along with many other electronics. Always be cautious where you are sourcing your electronics, particularly when you are dealing with someone you have never purchased from before.


            At Hillside Electronics, you can be confident that every one of our printers was designed for use within the United States. Not only do our printers contain manufacturer warranties, but we have our own Hillside warranty as well. In addition, we are a certified Epson repair center, and our technicians are skilled at repairing all POS printer models.


            If you have concerns about a printer you purchased in the past from an online seller, or if you would like help determining if your printer is under warranty, please give us a call at 413-238-5566, or email us at hec@hec.com. We are here to help with all of your POS printer needs and inquiries, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

            Final Note

            If you have any questions about the information contained in this post, please feel free to give us a call at 413-238-5566, or email us at hec@hec.com. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on new products and promotions available here on our website, hec.com!

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