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Vendor Relations

Suggestions for Dealing with Vendors

  1.  When researching a need, whenever possible, contact more than one vendor. The more alternatives and options you consider, the more likely your final choice will be the most advantageous to the College.
  2. Provide the same information to all vendors. State law requires that every vendor be given an equal opportunity to compete for your business.
  3. When comparing vendor products, look at the total cost of ownership - start up, operating, maintenance, useful life, etc. Make certain you are comparing "apples to apples" and not to "oranges".
  4. Remember, no gratuities! State ethics prevent you from accepting direct or indirect gifts or payments or any other object of value from vendors even though the intent of the gesture may be honorable or a customary practice of the vendor.
  5. Ask for product demonstrations. Most vendors will be happy to comply. However, if you want a sample for evaluation you must get a Purchase Order number from Procurement prior to delivery of the sample to the College. (See Evaluation or Trial Purchases).
  6. Utilize the skills of the vendors to develop your specifications. Remember that specifications should be based upon performance. What do you want the item or service to do? What is the desired end result?
  7. Use only by consent the original ideas and designs devised by one vendor for competitive purchasing purposes.
  8. If the sales representative asks you to sign a contract, order, or letter of intent, refuse to do so. Refer the representative to Procurement. Since all contractual terms and conditions must be reviewed by the Procurement Department and/or Legal Affairs you are protecting yourself and the College.
  9. The Office of Procurement has a printed VENDOR GUIDE to help vendors better understand how to do business with the College. Ask us if you would like copies to give vendors.

Correspondence with Vendors

It is College practice that all contacts or correspondence pertaining to negotiations affecting purchases or prospective purchases that involve prices, terms, conditions and delivery shall be carried on by the Procurement Office. Further, all correspondence pertaining to a purchase order that has been placed and which involves prices, terms, conditions, delivery, quantity, substitution, complaint, or anything whatsoever involving the commitment, shall be carried on by the Office of Procurement. Direct correspondence by faculty and staff is accepted practice on all other subject matter, such as availability of specific requirements, technical information, requests for literature, etc. Faculty and staff personnel should refrain from correspondence that may be interpreted as committing the College to a binding contract.

Complaints Against Vendors

Whenever a department feels a vendor has not satisfactorily delivered the goods or services contracted for by a purchase order or contract, they should contact their respective Procurement Officer with the details. It should never be assumed that contract performance problems will work themselves out. The Procurement Officer will initiate any available corrective action from the facts you provide. The State has a formal vendor complaint system which your Procurement Officer may utilize to reconcile your complaint.