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Free coffee machine when you buy coffee: Is it too good to be true?

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Dean Cartwright

16th Mar 2023

4 minutes for reading

We recently posted an article on the dangers of buying low quality coffee, something which is likely to be aggressively pushed due to the current economic situation. This article picks apart another common tactic, the ‘free coffee machine when you buy coffee’ type deal.

Free coffee machine when you buy coffee: how is that possible?

Believe it or not, there are genuine deals, some from well-known coffee machine brands, offering a free coffee machine when you buy coffee from them.

Is there a catch? Of course there is. The ‘free coffee machine when you buy coffee’ type deal is mostly just a repackaged subscription or lease model.

Either way, you’re not going to get away with buying a bag of coffee beans; you are going to have to commit yourself to buying coffee from that supplier for a fair few months at least.

For example, you might have to agree to place ten separate orders of ten boxes of product or more. That could easily be a commitment of more than £1,500. If you fail to meet that minimum requirement, you are likely to face cancellation charges based on the retail price of the machine you were originally getting for free.

With a lease deal, you aren’t getting a free coffee machine at all! Ownership never passes to you, even when you have met the minimum order terms. With this arrangement, you will need to return the coffee machine (often at your expense) when you decide to end your product supply contract.

Why is offering a free coffee machine when you buy coffee a bad thing in our opinion?

How much are you really paying?

The problem with this kind of deal is that the true value of what you are buying becomes hidden. When people come to us enquiring about our coffee machines, we ask them questions about the type of business they are running and how many drinks they expect to sell per day.

With our experience, we can then advise them about which coffee machines will best meet their needs. Customers with large businesses and high turnover might invest in one of the high end brands while those with more modest ambitions might buy one of our lower cost machines and maybe a good quality grinder. Either way, we would advise them to source good quality coffee.

Everybody in business knows that giving away a free coffee machine, or a coffee machine for £1, wouldn’t be feasible unless the vendor was making profit in other ways.

Could it be an excessive mark-up on their coffee? Are they forcing farmers to sell at rock bottom prices to maintain their profits? Are they inflating their delivery costs? Is it a combination of those things?

The truth is, the customer doesn’t know. And if their free coffee machine comes at the expense of vastly overpriced product, they could find themselves paying more in the long run.

Losing the personal touch

Another issue we have with big brand free coffee machine deals is that it devalues the relationship between the coffee supplier and their customer. The level of service they receive is likely to be determined solely by the size of their account, and if they are a low volume customer, they will be bottom of the list for everything from delivery slots to machine servicing.

At Cartwright Coffee, we have built robust relationships with businesses of all shapes and sizes, and we provide the same level of service regardless of their size or turnover. We value each and every one of our customers and never put our company growth ahead of their need for a reliable, high quality service.

Come to Cartwright Coffee for honest advice

We can’t offer you a free coffee machine, but we can promise you our honest opinion on which coffee machine would suit your business model. We can also supply specialty hand-picked coffee from around the world, high quality barista tools and best of all, no strings attached.

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