How to Choose an Office Supply Vendor - Payment Terms & Refunds

Here we are at last.  The final installment of the totally epic series "How to Choose an Office Supply Vendor."  The series that has overtaken Harry Potter as the most read of all time!  The one that has had you riveted to your seat!

Just kidding.  


No, really...I'm kidding.




(Yeah, like you really thought I was serious.)  So anyway, we've arrived at the last of my topics - Payment Terms and Refunds.  I think I'll work backward here and start with the refunds.  


It's important to find out what the vendor's return and exchange policy is and to be sure that you follow it so you don't lose money.  In many states, a merchant can have whatever refund policy it wants (including an "All Sales Final" policy) as long as its policy is applied equally and fairly to all customers, so don't assume the vendor will accept returns - always ask!   

  • What happens if something is damaged or defective?
  • How fast will it be replaced if it's damaged or defective?
  • What if it isn't what you thought it would be?
  • You ordered the wrong item?
  • You just don't like it?
  • Can you return items for a refund or is it an exchange or store credit only?
  • How long is the return period?
  • Is there a restocking fee?
  • Are there different return time frames for things like furniture & electronics?
  • If they offer refunds, are there any items that aren't returnable?
  • Do you need to call for an RMA first or can you just send it back?

Service after the sale is just as important as the sale itself.  Find a vendor that cares about its customer needs.  Office Express offers a full refund for unused, resalable items returned within 30 days from the date of order, with just a few exceptions.  If you are on our local Michigan truck routes, we'll even come pick it up from you!  You can see our full refund policy here.


Payment Terms

The biggest question here is:  Does the vendor offer open accounts or does the order have to be paid for at the time of purchase?  A good B2B vendor will offer open accounts with terms of at least 30 days, but they may not offer that until you have established a solid payment history with them.  This history may be in the form of a certain dollar amount of purchases or a specific time frame.  Most companies will require reference checks before offering terms, so be prepared to provide them, along with the pertinent financial information about your company.  At Office Express, we'll work with you to provide you with the terms that fit your needs.

Lastly, inquire about the method of invoicing and accepted methods of payment.  Does the vendor use snail mail, email or a combination of both for delivering invoices?  (Both here.) Is the method of delivery your choice? (Absolutely!)  Does the vendor do daily or monthly billing?  (We do both.)  Do they offer consolidated billing? (Yes!)  Can they provide usage reports?  Broken down by department if necessary? (Yes! Yes!) 

A good supply vendor will have the ability to accept a variety of payment methods.  Office Express accepts checks, credit cards, ACH, and some third party payment services (PayPal, etc.)  

Make sure your vendor is willing to provide the type of invoicing that your company prefers and accepts the type of payment that's best for you.

Well, that's it.  The End.


Thanks for sticking with me on this one.  I hope you found the series informative and useful.  As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing a vendor besides price.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 877-795-2600 - we're here to help!