I just received an e-mail from an equipment broker listing their “Current Inventory”. The list included manufacturer, model, quantity and condition, but no price. Upon further inspection I noticed this list included a lot of the inventory we actually own and have listed on our Scanner Traders website with even the same quantity levels, clearly not by coincidence.
That’s what equipment brokers do, they list every pre-owned scanner they find offered on our site or hear about from their customers. Sometimes they just list items they know are in high demand and wait for an inquiry before even trying to locate one. It’s frustrating to a business like ours, because they use these lists to make their customers believe they actually own these scanners or are at least in possession of them when in reality they at best only know where to find them.
I noticed on this particular list there were few prices, mostly “Call for Pricing”, “Call for details” or “Make an offer”, which wasn’t surprising since they don’t actually own the equipment, or even see it before it arrives at your office. They only know what the seller tells them in terms of the scanners condition, and maybe some pictures. Brokers have no idea what their final cost will be, so they typically avoid specifying prices as they add their markup and “handling” fee to their costs, which is usually up to 35%. Not a bad deal for making a few calls, collecting a check and arranging some shipping.
A brokers’ success, is much like a magicians, it’s dependent upon an illusion that they create, illusions like these “inventory lists” that they e-mail out weekly or monthly. Next time you work with a broker, ask to visit their warehouse or for the serial numbers of the scanners you are interested in, and scan counts, or pictures while speaking with them. If they own their equipment they will have that on an internal list, if they have to call you back, most likely they are calling us or someone else to get that information.
Brokers do typically deliver equipment as requested, but it’s the customer that takes all the risk while paying a premium for a scanner they could have purchased directly from a company that actually owns it. Next time you are interested in a pre-owned scanner, cut out the middle man, and deal with a company that actually owns the equipment they are selling.