Avoiding Scams: Choosing the Right Vending Machine Manufacturer

Avoid Vending Machine Scam

Photo credit: http://www.dallasnews.com/

In recent vending machine news, reporter Dave Lieber described his experience with vending machine manufacturer and re-seller, Planet Antares. In 2010, Mr. Lieber attended a conference advertised as a “Free Franchise & Home Business Conference” in Texas. Lieber describes the hour-long Planet Antares sales pitch as “cunning.” When they unveiled the Office Deli vending machine, Lieber snapped a picture of the machine and, as a result, was immediately ejected from the conference and the hotel where he was staying. Six years after the conference, many of the cheaply made Office Deli vending machines are still in the original packaging, unused and unable to be sold by their disappointed owners.

How to Avoid Vending Machine Scams

Unfortunately, scams have long existed. From pyramid and Ponzi schemes to online phishing and identity theft, crooks are diligent in reinventing themselves so as to evade detection and punishment. No matter their guise, with some diligent work on your part, you can avoid the scammers and choose the right vending machine manufacturer. We have a few tips on how to see through a con and avoid a scam:

  • Work with a company with an established history. While some businesses can operate wholly online, a vending machine company is not one of them. Even a newer vending machine services company will have a physical location and home base. A company that has been around for years, or even decades, will have an established history of customer service.
  • Research the potential company — deeply. While a cursory Google search is a good place to start your research, it should not be the only tool you use. Look for actual news articles on your target company as well as tried and true consumer protection sites such as the Better Business Bureau to get a more accurate picture of the business.
  • Avoid companies who behave as if they have something to hide from you. A legitimate company is knowledgeable about and proud of their history. When a company seems like it is trying to hide something, it probably is.
  • Avoid overly aggressive salespeople. While successful salespeople are generally known for their customer oriented extroverted nature, those who are truly aggressive and badgering may be peddling an inferior product.
  • Visit or call on actual clients of the company. As always, when possible, the best reference is that of a current or former customer.

Working with VendNet USA

VendNet USA is a part of the larger company Wittern Group, which has been in business for over 80 years. We have an established history of customer service and excellence. We provide vending machine services and parts that will keep your machines operating at maximum efficiency. With a fully stocked parts department, we can provide fast, reliable shipping anywhere in the world. Our number one goal is to provide the best possible customer service to all of our customers whether they own one machine or one hundred vending machines. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your vending business.

Don’t Be In The Dark, Light Up Your Vending Machine with LED Lights

led lighting kits for vending machineThere is no question that LED lighting options are one of the most popular types of lighting used today. LED lights are efficient, bright and last longer than traditional options. This is why they are often seen used in homes, businesses, for street lamps and even in vehicles. One of the newest applications for LED lighting is in vending machines.

With vending machines popping up all over the place and vending machine services having to be called for bulb replacement often, a new option for lighting these machines has been developed. With LED lighting, the bulbs do not have to be replaced as often and ensure what is inside can be clearly seen – regardless of what time at day or night the machine is being used.

There are a number of benefits offered by using this lighting option, which include:

  • A low voltage option: The vending machine LED lights will plug into the existing 24 volt power sources. There is no need for auxiliary transformers for these kits.
  • Clear view of available products: When the lighting is successfully installed, those interested in purchasing something will have a clear view of what is for sale. Also, the bulbs are arranged in a way to illuminate the vending machine evenly, which prevents dim or dark sections.
  • Save energy: LED lights can lead to a power savings of up to 60 percent.
  • Extended bulb life: LED bulbs can last up to five to 10 years.
  • No toxic materials: With fluorescent bulbs, you run the risk of exposing users to mercury, which is toxic.

When you have successfully installed LED bulbs you will also not have to invest in as many service calls. This means when a vending machine needs to be worked on, it will not be the bulbs that have to be replaced; however, this will not minimize the need for other vending machine parts, which is something to keep in mind.

Also, since you are not having to call for service on the vending machine as often, you will not have to pay as much. This will save you quite a bit of time and money.

When you choose LED lights for your vending machine, they brighten the items that are inside and this will help to encourage them to make a purchase. When the vending machine is dark and the items are not able to be clearly seen, a person may be hesitant to actually make a purchase. As a result of this increased sales, the ROI on the LED lighting will be seen almost immediately.

When it comes to vending machines, takes some time to make sure yours is able to be used at all times, day and night, and that the cost of repairs and replacement bulbs is not excessive. If it is, then changing to LED bulbs may be the best solution for you and your bottom line.

Protect Your Vending Machine | Don’t Let a Robot Steal From It

Machines may not have risen up to destroy humanity as predicted in films like “The Terminator,” but make no mistake: they are definitely in the process of rising up to steal from our vending machines, with a little help from their human counterparts, too. One enterprising young French citizen has created a bold new type of robot that you should definitely be afraid of if you own, operate or generally depend on vending machines on a daily basis.

The Robot Thief

French YouTube star ioduremetallique has always had an interest in robotics and technology in general, but his recent postings show that he may have finally gone a bit too far. He invented a compact robot that, once inserted into a vending machine through the distribution slot, uses a levitating arm that essentially grabs a can of soda or other items and drops them down the vending machine – completely free of charge. He controls this robot via a gamepad, similar to the way your kids might control their Sony PlayStation.

Before you get too worried, let’s put things into perspective. Based on the sheer amount of time and money that he put into his creation alone, he would have to steal roughly 4,000 sodas (according to the experts at Vice.com) before he even approached any type of return on investment. He has indicated that he mainly started this little project just to see if he could, but the fact that he can is what has many vending machine providers worried.

Vending Machine Solutions

Even though would-be thieves are probably not going to start controlling an army of hugely expensive robots to steal the occasional free soda, it does underscore the importance of vending machine maintenance in general. If a vending machine is allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, it could suddenly be open to exactly this type of loophole. Vending machine repair in general is hugely important, not only to prevent against attacks from these types of robots, but also to close any software-related loopholes that may have been discovered since the machine went online. Inventory control software can also be used to alert you to a problem (like disappearing cans of soda, for example), allowing you to take steps to correct the issue as quickly as possible.

Between protecting your livelihood against people like ioduremetallique and continuing to maintain a high level of service for customers, to say that vending machine maintenance is important is something of an understatement.

 

VendNet USA | The Wittern Group Announces its Commitment to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge

VendNet USA’s parent company, The Wittern Group, joins 153 companies who have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge in their support for action on climate change.

VendNet USADES MOINES, IOWA – December 7, 2015 – VendNet USA, announces The Wittern Group’s commitment to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.  The official announcement from the White House highlights the commitments from 73 companies, including The Wittern Group, from across the American economy that are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. With this announcement, a total of 154 companies will have signed the Pledge.  These companies have operations in all 50 states, employ nearly 11 million people, represent more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion.

By signing the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, The Wittern Group is voicing support for an outcome that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future at the COP21 Paris climate negotiations.  As a part of this Pledge, The Wittern Group is demonstrating an ongoing focus on climate action by committing to:

  • Reducing water usage by 10% by 2020
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their vending products by 45% by 2025
  • Increasing investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient, and green projects by $2 million by 2025
  • Developing long-term business plans that align with the deep DE carbonization necessary to keep global average temperatures from rising less than 2C

“Sustainability is an important initiative for VendNet USA and The Wittern Group as we look to grow our business while remaining agile amid a changing environmental landscape,” commented Heidi Chico, CEO of The Wittern Group and NAMA Board Member.  “By committing to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, The Wittern Group, along with VendNet USA, is taking a leadership role by focusing on initiatives that will increase the profile of the vending industry and demonstrate our industry’s commitment to climate action.”

The Wittern Group is one of seven National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) member companies that have committed to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.  NAMA is the association representing the $25 billion U.S. vending and refreshment service industry.  These seven companies demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate action and to voice their support for a strong outcome at the Paris climate negotiations.

“The Wittern Group recognizes that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to economic growth, public health, and the wellbeing of the global environment,” commented Heidi Chico, CEO of The Wittern Group and NAMA Board Member.  “The Wittern Group is proud to be a small but integral part in addressing climate change and through this Pledge has committed to ambitious, yet achievable, goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and utilize clean energy alternatives.”

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About The Wittern Group

Founded in 1931 by F.A. Wittern Sr., The Wittern Group provides a full range of products and services to meet all vending needs including design, manufacturing, financing, national and international sales, re-manufacturing programs, parts, and support services. The Wittern Group is structured to help people succeed in vending.  www.wittern.com

Contact: Heidi Chico // Tel: +1 (515) 271.8425 // E-mail: hchico@wittern.com

Do You Know What To Do If Your Vending Machine Breaks Down? Be Prepared For Winter

Coffee Vending MachineWhen cold weather sets in, people want to drink more coffee and other hot beverages. When the usage of the coffee vending machine increases, more stress is put on the machine that can make it break down completely or work unreliably and that makes customers and machine owners unhappy.

Vending machine repair can seem like a shot in the dark for those who are not prepared. Who to call in your area, and can they be trusted? How to explain the problem? What if the machine needs parts? Where do you get them and what is a fair price? VendNet USA can solve those problems with vending machine parts  that are on-site and shipped out right away, and by helping locate a vending machine specialist for part installation and vending machine repairs. A coffee vending machine, with its 21st century options of coffee, cappuccino, teas, and many other hot beverages can only make money and keep people happy if it works properly.

VendNet USA is here to help keep vending machines with a variety of services:

Diagnosing services.

  • Parts list for nearly all vending machines on the market
  • A fully stocked parts department to facilitate getting parts shipped right away
  • Help in finding a certified repairman in your area
  • Technical assistance to assist in ordering parts

Other services from VendNet USA:

  • Assistance for owners fixing their own machine
  • Manuals for all kinds of vending machines, not only hot drink machines
  • A toll free number to answer questions and put owners in touch with the right people to get their vending machines fixed and working properly
  • VendNet USA also offers one-stop shopping for premium coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino, tea, and hot beverage supplies, all at great prices.

VendNet USA is the solution for the vending machines that satisfy today’s coffee lovers.

Although these machines have been built tough, they are often abused by people in a hurry, and after a while, that abuse can add up. We have the technical expertise and the parts to help you get up and running in no time. If it’s a job you don’t want to try on your own, we’ll put you in contact with someone in your area that you’ll be able to count on to work on the job and get things up and running as soon as possible.

Whether you need parts to fix a machine yourself, manuals to know how to fix your machine, technical advice and assistance to help you decide if a self-repair is something you want to take on, or help in finding a qualified and reliable repairman to do the work for you, VendNet USA can help. With over 80 years in the vending industry, VendNet USA is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with unbeatable online support and services.

Clean Water Vending Machines to Replace Water Fountains

Clean Water Vending Machines

Photo Source: http://www.fastcoexist.com

When you think of a vending machine, you probably call to mind images of large units that dispense any number of sugary drinks or snacks. What you might not think about is a vending machine that dispenses clean drinking water on command, but that’s exactly what one vending machine manufacturer hopes to change. The Wittern Group is hoping that its new controlled dispensing solutions will prove so popular with people looking for clean drinking water that they could entirely replace water fountains in the near future.

The Benefits of Clean Water Machines

The benefits of a clean water vending machine are numerous, particularly as a public and environmental service. Not only are manufacturers hoping that they’ll replace water fountains, but also the need for bottled water in many major markets. Bottled water may be convenient, but it represents a number of environmental and material hazards that we cannot afford to ignore any longer.

Additionally, clean water vending machines may prove to be much more reliable than traditional bottle-filled machines. These machines are connected to the public water system, essentially guaranteeing that they will never “run out” of stock.

Steps to Obtain Approval

In order for a vending machine company to provide such water-related services to the public, however, a number of important steps are involved. Though requirements will vary slightly based on jurisdiction, the broader strokes are always the same. In Massachusetts, for example, any water vending machine will have to be first submitted to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Boston for a lengthy review and approval process. A complete description of the new technology will need to be provided, documentation outlining all plumbing and schematics must be included and a copy of the operational and vending machine maintenance manual will also be necessary.

Third party approval will also be required by an agency that has been certified by the MassDEP, with the NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) being just one of many examples. The site that the vending machine will be located at will have to be properly registered, as will the unit itself as a component of the public water system.

With advanced solutions such as these, vending machine repair becomes even more important. When a vending machine becomes your premier and trusted source for something as important as clean drinking water, fixing any issues and performing regular maintenance are even more essential to its continued survival than ever before. If these clean water vending machines continue to grow in popularity, the days of water fountains and even bottled water may very well be numbered.

The Importance of Proper Vending Machine Maintenance

Vending Machine Maintenance

The importance of proper vending machine maintenance is something that cannot be overstated enough. Not only do many businesses and organizations use vending machines as a reliable supplementary income, but many people depend on vending machines as an important part of their day at the same time. Medical vending machines help keep track of supplies moving in and out of a healthcare facility and therefore needs reliable vending. Even snack vending machines may be the necessary boost in energy that a student needs in between classes.

Vending Machine Service

When discussing vending machine maintenance, however, it’s important to pay attention to not just how often your machines are being serviced, but who is doing the service in the first place. In Salt Lake City, law enforcement officials recently released information about a man who they believed had broken into more than 40 different vending machines at grocery stores around the state. His activities stretched from West Jordan to Evanston to Cedar City and beyond.

The perpetrator most often targeted the types of vending machines that were situated in front of a grocery store rather than the machines which reside inside the store, due to the fact that he was less likely to be under some kind of surveillance. Detectives estimated that he obtained up to $350 from each incident and the total damage of his crime spree was over $33,000.

So how was this criminal mastermind able to target so many vending machines successfully? The answer is unfortunately simple: vending machine maintenance was contracted out to a third party at many of these businesses and employees just didn’t know who was supposed to be repairing them and when.

Because store employees had no idea how often their machines needed to be serviced or even what company was doing the servicing, this Utah man was able to cause $33,000 in damage and loss in just a few short months. This is just one example that underlines the point that vending machine repair and maintenance not only needs to be maintained regularly to keep things up and running, but to prevent criminals from taking advantage of a system.

The importance of proper vending machine maintenance is something that you should always be focused on. In addition to the fact that you want to make sure that all of your equipment is always functioning properly, failure to understand who is providing service or what they’re doing could lead to disastrous results – as over 40 vending machine owners in Salt Lake City recently discovered. These are the types of mistakes that you, your business and your customers cannot afford to make.

 

Has Vending Technology gone too far?

Vending machine technology has come a very long way in just a few short years. The last several leaps that vending machines have taken have ushered in an era of not only cashless payments, but mobile payments with a device like a smartphone or tablet. Now, things are taking a bold step forward with new machines that are not only connected to the Internet and cloud-based, but that accept the controversial cryptocurrency Bitcoin at the same time.

Vending Machines and Bitcoin: A Match Made in Heaven

bitcoin and vending machines vendnet usa

Tom Truitt is a man who has been in the vending business for decades. He’s been there through every major leap forward that the technology has taken and through years of experience sees Bitcoin not only as an evolution, but an idea that the future of vending machine technology may very well be upon us.

One of the major benefits of Bitcoin powered vending machines has to do with the roots of the currency itself. Vending machines have long been designed to be scalable – you can expand or contract your inventory as you see fit. You can use actionable analytics built into the system itself to learn what you need to be stocking more of, and what you can stop paying attention to.

Bitcoin brings the same benefits by way of a universal currency that everyone can use. This makes it easier than ever before to get the items you need when you need them the most. Regardless of the user, the operation would be simple: a user can take his or her smartphone, scan a QR code located somewhere on the front of the machine, select their product and watch it vend. Payment from the user’s Bitcoin wallet would automatically be triggered at the same time, creating a transaction that lasts mere seconds.

Truitt indicates that the widespread adoption of Bitcoin payments for vending machines would not only change cashless payments and the vending industry in general, but it would also inject a much needed air of legitimacy into the Bitcoin cryptocurrency itself. It’s creating a situation where everybody wins, from the consumer on up.

With all of this, the real question becomes: has vending machine technology come too far? By embracing new currencies like Bitcoin, are vending machines moving away from the simplistic and straightforward ideals on which they were founded on? If you actually talk to the people who not only use these vending machines on a daily basis, but the businesses who depend on them, you’ll find that the answer is incredibly clear: not only has vending machine technology not gone too far, many would say that it is incredibly exciting to see how much farther they will go in just a few short years time.

 

Check the Status of your Vending Machine from your Office or Smartphone

Your smartphone is no longer just a device that you can use to send messages to loved ones, play the occasional game while you wait for that important meeting to start or even access the Internet. Thanks to the rate at which mobile technology is developing, you can now use your smartphone to run your business – particularly if your business depends on vending machines. A number of new advancements have been made in recent years that allow you to check the status of your vending machine from your office or phone with just a few quick taps of your finger.

Vending Machine Repair Alerts

One of the major benefits of this type of advancement has to do with the type of information that you can see regarding the status of your vending machine from your smartphone. With the right service provider, a vending machine that is connected to the Internet will be constantly reporting on its status. You don’t just get to see whether it is “up” or “down” – if there is a problem, you can see exactly what is wrong and take immediate steps to fix it.

With cashless payment systems, you can also check to see how many sales a machine has made in a particular day, what types of items are selling out, what needs to be replenished and more – all from a device small enough to fit into your pocket.

VendNet USA & Greenlite

cashless vending greenlite

Greenlite, a new type of technology being shepherded by industry leader VendNet USA, is one of the primary examples of this type of technology in practice. Greenlite is a service designed to help make vending equipment not only more profitable but more convenient at the same time by implementing a cashless payment system. According to VendNet USA, the average machine sees a 15% increase in sales immediately after a cashless payment system is added.

In addition to the fact that it now makes it easier for consumers to pay for their items, it also helps reduce costs normally associated with filling equipment. No longer will a business owner need to make an “educated guess” regarding what types of products they should or should not be putting into their machine. With integrated remote reporting, they have access to actionable analytical information and can look at sale frequency of particular items, developing trends and more.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can check the status of your vending machine from your office or smartphone right now with the right service at your side. As technology continues to advance, it is truly exciting to think about the shape that these types of features will take just a few short years from now.

Ticket Vending Machine Mayhem Coming to a Halt

In May of 2015, metro customers in the New York City area were significantly inconvenienced when a series of outages at MetroCard vending machines made it difficult (and in certain situations downright impossible) to purchase the cards necessary to ride public transportation. The vending machines themselves still technically worked, but they were unable to properly process the payment options that customers needed to actually complete their transaction. Now, other providers are learning from the mistakes of New York City by offering ticket vending machines that are designed to address these types of issues.

In Rhode Island, for example, RIPTA has recently rolled out a series of vending machines in Kennedy Plaza that are designed to both address the issues that many travelers are facing and reduce lines and wait times at ticket windows at the same time. The RIPTA ticket vending machines accept both credit and debit card (but do not currently have a cash option at this time) and issue one day passes, seven day passes and two hour unlimited passes. Though these machines were only recently installed in the plaza, they are already yielding significant performance improvements across the board.

By far, one of the best ways to relieve or even completely eliminate ticket vending machine mayhem involves making sure that these machines are being maintained in the right way. Ticket vending machine maintenance schedules should always include a number of important elements, like offering alternative payment solutions if something is not currently operating in the way that it should be. If the credit card option goes down, for example, users should still be able to pay for their purchases with cash.

Instead of taking a machine offline that needs extensive repairs, substitute equipment should be ready to be swapped in at a moment’s notice. Expert advice should also be sought by the New York City Transit Authority, RIPTA and other organizations employing these machines to help keep down time at a minimum.

The ticket vending machines in Rhode Island are a massive step in the right direction for weary travelers everywhere. Instead of standing in long lines at a ticket window, customers can now purchase transit tickets on their own terms whenever they’d like. The Transit Authority indicated that they will be carefully monitoring the performance of these ticket machines in their current location in Kennedy Plaza and, if they prove to be a success, will soon roll them out in Pawtucket Transit Center and in other locations in the near future.

Source: http://wpri.com/2015/07/02/ripta-launches-ticket-vending-machines/