Terms & Conditions for Sale Document — Gone the Way of the Dinosaur?
Created by the major printer associations, the “Terms and Conditions for Sale” document has been setting the stage for business standards between print suppliers and print buyers for decades. The document was originally created to decrease the number of misunderstandings between the two parties, but is now viewed as archaic in the minds of many print industry experts.
A while ago, we wrote an article entitled, “Why the Printing Industry’s Terms and Conditions for Sale Are Effectively Dead.” It’s pretty clear how we feel about the issue, just look at the title and you know we think the document no longer serves a purpose. We decided to check back in with the industry to see how others are currently feeling about this issue.
In February, Print Buyers Online.com distributed a Quick Poll Survey asking, “How relevant are printers’ ‘Terms and Conditions for Sale’ documents?” We were not surprised by the results. As expected, 54% of major print buyers said, “The Terms and Conditions for Sale document is irrelevant. It’s outdated. We establish our own terms with our print suppliers.” This was an 11% increase since the same Quick Poll Survey was distributed in August of 2006.
It was clear we aren’t the only ones who think this document has seen better days. As one of the buyers put it, “Most of my print suppliers don’t even submit a ‘Terms and Conditions for Sale’ or it is an old set printed on the back of the quotation form (which is now faxed or emailed without the backing). The printer salespeople don’t even read them, so how relevant can they be?”
But what about the print suppliers? We wanted to hear your side of the story—so we asked.
• 62% of the print suppliers surveyed said the document is “Somewhat relevant. It’s a guide, but we don’t always hold our customers accountable.”
•13% stated customers negotiate their own terms with them.
• And only 25% of printers said they expect print buyers to follow the Terms and Conditions for Sale Document.
One supplier elaborated, “The terms listed in the customer purchase order take precedence over general terms and conditions. The cost of legally enforcing terms and conditions isn’t worth it for smaller projects, plus invoking legalities will usually cost you a customer.”
If a major percentage of both print suppliers and buyers are no longer using the Terms and Conditions for Sale document, what are you using in its place?
Please share your answer and thoughts by posting a comment below.