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12 Federation of Private Residents’ Associations Newsletter BUYER BEWARE

or: How not to buy equipment for your RA By FPRA Chief Executive Robert Levene

When the FPRA was moving offi ces last summer it needed a new printer, so we went to PC World with a list of requirements and they recommended a Xerox Phaser 6110 MFP. We thought it very reasonably priced, at £283.00 plus VAT, plus spare ink cartridges etc. What could be easier you might think, and why would we be telling the members about it in the newsletter? The reason is the committee thought that the members should learn from the bad experience we had.

When it was delivered, the printer had a fault and did not work. However, PC World refused to replace it because we had purchased the printer in our company name and therefore through their business account. What difference does that make, you might think? We certainly did not think it made any difference when we were buying it, but buried in their terms and conditions was an exclusion that any problem or fault was not their problem but the manufacturer’s – Xerox who provided a 12 month

warranty. Of course it took many phone calls to establish this.

Eventually, some six weeks after its delivery, Xerox supplied a replacement machine. It seems that, had one of the FPRA committee purchased the printer in their own name and then charged the expense to the Federation and had been reimbursed, then the whole situation would have been different. As an individual you have the protection of the consumer legislation with all the rights that go with it, while as a company you have no protection.

The printer has subsequently broken down several times with it taking in excess of two weeks to get even common parts. As a result, we are going to have to buy a new printer from a different supplier, of a different make, and of course this will be purchased in an individual’s name and the purchase reimbursed.

So if you are buying any equipment for your RA or RMC, we hope you will learn from this lesson as we certainly have.

The inclusion of an insert or advertisement in the FPRA Newsletter does not imply endorsement by FPRA of any product or service advertised


ROBERT By FPRA Chairman, Bob Smytherman

On behalf of the Committee I would like to wish our Chief Executive Robert Levene a speedy recovery from his current health problems.

Robert has been absent from the FPRA offi ce for the last six weeks, three of which were in hospital due to heart problems etc. but he is hoping to return to work in the near future. During his absence Claire, Diane and Jacqui have done a brilliant job in dealing with the admin and forwarding members’ questions and we are all grateful for the extra work in sometimes diffi cult circumstances during this time.

Some items that Robert would normally personally deal with have been delayed but again, we are very fortunate that members of the committee have helped, and in particular, we would like to thank Nick Roberts for his help preparing responses to consultations and Stephen Guy for helping with the website etc.

We continue to endeavour to answer members’ questions within our target of 10 days, but hope members will understand that this is not always possible, especially with so many of our volunteers on holiday during the summer.

Your Committee Chairman:

Bob Smytherman email:

Vice-Chairman: Richard Williams

Hon. Treasurer: Michael Derome

Members: Robert Levene, Bob Smytherman, Philippa Turner, Muriel Guest Smith

Hon. Consultants: Lord Coleraine, Ann Ellson, Peter Haler, Andrew McKeer, Paul Masterson, Yashmin Mistry, Andrew Pridell, Martin Redman, Leigh Shapiro, Nic Shulman

Chief Executive: Robert Levene

Newsletter Editor: Amanda Gotham

Layout: Sarah Phillips

FPRA only advises member associations – we cannot and do not act for them. Opinions and statements offered orally and in writing are given free of charge and in good faith and as such are offered without legal responsibility on the part of either of the maker or of FPRA Ltd. All questions and answers are passed to our Newsletter and Website editors and may be published (without name details) to help other members. If you prefer your question and answer not to be used please inform us.

Extra copies of the Newsletter can be obtained from the FPRA offi ce at £3.50 each, postage paid. Cheques to be made payable to FPRA Ltd. They can also be seen and printed out from the Members’ Section of the FPRA website.

Contact details: The Federation of Private Residents’ Associations Limited, Box 10271, Epping CM16 9DB. Tel: 0871 200 3324 Email: Website:

If telephoning the offi ce please do so weekday mornings

Issue No. 90 Autumn 2009

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