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Comments about PB.com:
It doesn't take much effort to find a company that specializes in business services. With the great need for an across- the- board array of services, there is almost always a company ready to assist and the prices these business service providers charge is often less expensive than performing the work yourself. One company that makes life a little easier for businesses is **Pitney Bowes (www.pb.com)**, a web site for purchasing Pitney Bowes office machines and various services. **Online Store Commentary:**
Pitney Bowes is an online store I have used dozens of times over the years to order postage, get service for a Pitney Bowes postage meter, find supplies for the meters, and order a few other services. Best known for its automatic postage meters that make it fast and efficient to stamp an envelope, Pitney Bowes actually offers a wide array of business services, often for a price and efficiency level that is better than what a business would get if it attempted to complete the work internally. My experience with the Pitney Bowes online store includes buying toner and envelopes; adding postage to a machine; and evaluating different postage meters when the time came around to renew our business contract. My earliest experience with Pitney Bowes online was to purchase postage and have it transferred directly to the Pitney Bowes postage meter at my place of business. Buying postage is very easy with Pitney Bowes and a purchase can be completed either by phone or via the online site. I prefer the online method because you can visibly see your postage purchase and all of the related transactions for a defined period of time. With your online Pitney Bowes account, you can check your Pitney Bowes postage balance on your postage meter, check account activity, etc.. Postage can be purchased and electronically added to your Pitney Bowes Postage Meter at any time, in a matter of seconds. With the press of a few buttons, the available postage on your meter will increase. Ah, the joys of modern technology! Pitney Bowes postage meters, as well as certain other products, purchased through the web site or otherwise, are obtained on a rental/lease basis. There is no option to purchase these meters, and this fact might be good or bad depending on the needs of a particular business. From my experience, I have found that the lease option is better than owning because it includes a maintenance agreement and it allows the business to reevaluate its postage needs after the one- year lease term has expired. At this point, a company might discover that a faster or slower machine is needed. Customers can upgrade or downgrade at that point with no problem. If a purchase was made, your business might be stuck with a postage meter that was inadequate for business needs. There is one fact about the leasing process that I wish was different: The inability to buy a postage meters and their accompanying lease agreement directly. If you see a postage device that you like, you can't add it to your shopping cart and proceed to the checkout. You must begin the process by filling out a contact form instead, which is then forwarded to a Pitney Bowes representative who will then call you and discuss your options. I don't like this process because I feel it is too long and tedious. Most business owners are smart enough to know what they need in a postage meter. They do not need to talk it over with the supplier. I wouldn't mind if it was an option, but Pitney Bowes makes it a required part of the service purchase. The other thing I don't like about the process is that Pitney Bowes sales people are a little on the pushy side. It takes several "No" responses before the Pitney Bowes rep will give up. Another issue I have with Pitney Bowes online is the layout of its web site. It isn't very intuitive, and many customers will find themselves clicking away to find what they want. I have found that it takes some time to find what you want and often you have to click several places to reach the product or service section you desire. Should I click Business Solutions or Small Office Solutions? True, I may have a small business, but the service I want could very well be listed under Business Solutions rather than Small Business Solutions. **Bottom Line Viewpoint:**
Pitney Bowes online is an okay web site for a company that sells some good, efficient postage meters, scales, and like products, as well as software, envelopes, shredders, and miscellaneous services. This is one instance where the online site doesn't measure up to the respectability of the business itself. Pitney Bowes online could use some improvements, but it is still good enough to warrant a recommendation. The product information is good, the quality of the products is very good, and lease terms are clearly identified. I don't like the phone consultation requirement before making a purchase, but Pitney Bowes online is still good enough to earn a recommendation.