IT Services

Computer Hardware Breakdown Service: Service Description 2012-2013


1. Introduction

A hardware breakdown service for PCs and Apple Macintosh computers and their peripherals, including printers, is provided by the University Computing Services. It is available to University Institutions, Colleges and University members (staff and students) on a personal basis for their privately owned equipment. This document relates to the contract year 2012-2013, running from 1st December 2012 to 30th November 2013. Compared to the previous year, there has been an increase in the specifications for equipment covered by the standard price. These, along with other changes to the service description, are identified in this document by Italic text.

Boxed text is used to flag important caveats to the service.

2. Service Description - Main Features

The main features of the service are as follows:
  1. Equipment must be in full working order at the time of registration. Faults reported deemed present prior to the equipment being placed under contract may be excluded from cover. This is policed at the sole discretion of the contractor.
  2. It is for the repair of hardware faults only.
  3. Details of the computers must be registered with the service through the University's Computing Services. All external peripheral items to be included in the service must be separately itemised.

    Please note: Special internal peripherals, such as high performance graphics cards and tape systems may require an extra payment in order to be covered by the scheme. For this reason it is important to fully specify all internal peripherals when the equipment is registered. If full details of the system are not specified at the time of registration, then certain faults may be excluded from the service, or an extra fee may have to be paid if a repair is to be carried out. The Equipment Specification section provides more details.

  4. Registered equipment must be out of warranty, or very nearly so. However, see also the section Registration of Equipment still under Warranty.
  5. Registered equipment is covered against parts and labour costs for the following:
    • any electrical, electronic or mechanical breakdown as a result of inherent cause (i.e. internal failure of the machine)
    • residual cause or external influences that include operator error and failure of electricity supply or environmental controls.
    Damage caused whilst the equipment is in transit outside a building is not fully covered; replacement parts will be charged for, but there will be no labour charge.
    Damage caused by incorrect operational procedures, such as incorrect installation of toner, will not be covered.

    Airport/Aeroplane damage excluded. Experience with users who frequently travel by air has shown problems can occur on certain makes and models of portable computers, when the equipment is subject to certain types of scanning equipment. Other models are known to suffer screen failure at altitudes greater than 10,000 feet. The damage is normally noticed with large blotches or patches across the screen. In such cases the breakdown service will not be held responsible for the cost of any replacement parts.

  6. There is no cover against damage caused by flood, fire, lightning or other perils; neither is there cover for accidental damage. Cover for such risks is typically provided as part of a wider building insurance policy.
  7. Damage caused by misuse of the equipment is not covered by the service.
  8. The following limited life components are included in the cover (but see next section for some exceptions):
    • Drums, corona wires, fusers and ozone filters in laser printers,
    • CMOS batteries and batteries in laptops,
    • Pickup rollers and print heads in dot matrix and inkjet printers

    Please note: Laptop batteries are included only if properly maintained. Following the manufacturers guidelines regarding battery maintenance will present no problems with respect to the breakdown service. However, if a laptop has been stored and not used for many months, the battery may become discharged and permanently unusable. Battery damage caused in this way will not be covered by the breakdown service.

  9. The following limited life components or consumable items may not be covered, depending on options chosen when registering equipment for the service:
    • Drums,
    • PCU units,
    • Transfer belts,
    • Fusers on colour printers,
    • Optional Paper Trays (Unless paid for as additional item).
    • Thermal heads on all wax printers and some thermal plotters,
    • Components for some specific types of less common equipment may be excluded. Any such exclusions will be identified when a quotation is provided.
    • Lamps/Bulbs
    Monitors (CRT only)
    • Tube failure as result of ‘end-of-life’
  10. Periodic maintenance requirements are not covered. Examples include, service faults on equipment such as printers, that relate to maintenance kits needing to be applied to the device, or the E101 error message on EPSON Large Format printers, indicating Carriage Motor is end of life. If the parts are purchased from the maintenance contractor, their fitting will be free.
  11. Issues arising from general wear and tear are not covered, e.g. keyboards with loss of lettering due to significant use.
  12. Multimedia equipment such as speakers and microphones are not included; replacement parts will be charged for, but there will be no labour charge.
  13. Replacement consumables are excluded from the repair service; for example, toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges, ribbons, diskettes.
  14. The service is on site: the engineer will visit the site of the broken to make the repair or collect equipment for return to the Equinox workshop for repair.
  15. An annual fee, for an amount that is dependent on the type of equipment being registered, is paid at the time of registration. In the normal operation of this service, no further payments are required following the breakdown and subsequent repair of a registered item of equipment; see the Equipment Specification section for further details.
  16. The service is provided through a contractual arrangement with a third party maintenance contractor. As with all contracts, if problems arise and the contract must be prematurely terminated, breakdown cover may cease before the end of the annual period and there will be no guarantee of any refund. The University will endeavour to obtain alternative services but these may only be available at an additional charge.

  17. The working hours for the engineer are 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays and the University Christmas closure period.
  18. For the Standard Workstation Service, an engineer will arrive within a working day of a call out, and the machine will be repaired or a replacement (if eligible) will be organised within a working day of the engineer's arrival. For the Fileserver Service, there is a 4hr maximum response time with a 4 hour fix time.
  19. If the repair cannot be carried out within a working day, a loan machine of similar performance and specification can, in most cases, be provided by the engineer until the repair can be completed. This option is not always required, but if it is, ask for it if the engineer forgets to offer it. If the fault does not involve the hard disk then the engineer may be able to transfer the hard disk into the loan machine to provide continuity of working. Consequently, the worst case elapsed time from reporting a fault, to having it repaired or temporarily replaced, should be 48 hours in most cases.
  20. For the following equipment, if the repairer is unable to effect a repair, a replacement machine will be provided whose specification will be at least equivalent to the original equipment, as long as the replacement cost is no greater than £1,000:

    • Personal computers (Apple and PCs) including screens,
    • Laptops
    • Printers in the 'Standard Category'

    However, please note that external devices, such as CD drives which are supplied by the manufacturer as part of the laptop kit, may not be replaceable when faulty, due to the unavailability of the component.

  21. Loan equipment cannot be taken abroad.
  22. Loan equipment is not available for the following:
    • Non-standard printer features such as large input paper bins,
    • Docking stations, Magneto Optical Disk drives, multi-stack CD ROM drives, LCD Transfer Panels, Optical Mark Readers.
  23. The components which are replaced in the course of a repair become the property of the maintenance contractor. In the case of hard disks which have been replaced, if it is important to arrange for data recovery or data destruction, then the disk may be temporarily retained, but it must be returned to the maintenance contractor after recovery attempts or data destruction have been completed. If confidentiality requirements dictate that the disk should be destroyed, there may be a charge levied by the repairer to cover lost income, as the disk cannot be sent for refurbishment.
  24. The normal address for the equipment can be anywhere on mainland Britain. Additional charges will be made for visiting offshore islands to cover the cost of ferry or plane journeys.
  25. The cover provided by the service operates while the equipment is temporarily removed to another location within the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. Faults which occurred whilst abroad may be reported on return to the UK.
  26. Equipment owners who attempt the repair of hardware faults without the authorisation of the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service or without consultation and agreement with the maintenance engineer do so at their own risk and may invalidate their registration.
  27. Users are not normally permitted to access the internals of registered equipment for the purposes of changing parts. If this becomes necessary, then contact the Computer Hardware Breakdown Servicebefore doing so as such actions may invalidate the registration.
  28. Upgrades to hardware after it has been registered must be notified to the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service at OUCS and any further fee which becomes due must be paid. Failure to notify OUCS of any upgrades may invalidate the registration.
  29. Graphics Cards. Special consideration must be given to graphics cards. If the graphics card in a system is not the standard one supplied by the manufacturer (e.g. extra video RAM has been fitted, or a higher specification model has been requested), then the details of the card must be declared. An extra fee might have to be paid at the time of registration and there may be no loan option for the card. For specific pricing information, contact the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service.
  30. SCSI Hard Drives. Special consideration must be given to systems containing SCSI hard drives. The specific make and model of the SCSI controller must be identified. If the controller is a non standard variety that cannot be replaced or is very expensive, then the details of the card must be declared. An extra fee might have to be paid at the time of registration and there may be no loan option for the card. For specific pricing information, contact the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service.
  31. Sound Cards. Basic or onboard sound cards are included in the standard price. If a 'quality' sound card is part of the specification and any repair will require a similar quality replacement, then the details of the card must be declared. An extra fee might have to be paid at the time of registration and there may be no loan option for the card. If the quality of sound is not important, the existing 'quality' card need not be declared, but any replacement would be with a basic sound card. For specific pricing information, contact the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service.
  32. Specialist printers, such as high volume print servers with many 'bells and whistles', may incur an extra fee. The price list for desktop equipment provides more details.
  33. This breakdown service only applies to work carried out on registered equipment by the third party maintenance contractor. The cost of work carried out by any fourth party on a chargeable basis cannot be reimbursed.
  34. Changes to this Service Description may be made from time to time and at least seven days notice will be given.

If full details of the system are not specified at the time of registration, then certain faults may be excluded from the service, or an extra fee might have to be paid if a repair is to be carried out.

3. Equipment Specification

A wide variety of equipment can be maintained by this service. The standard fee applies to equipment that does not exceed a maximum specification. When this is exceeded, an extra fee will have to be paid. A completed list of equipment and specifications covered by the scheme, and the prices, is available for typical desktop equipment and file servers.

If there is any equipment which you may be interested in having covered by this scheme that is not listed in the above referenced price lists, then please contact the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service and a price for cover will be obtained from the maintenance contractor.

4. Registration

The registration period is always up to the end of November. The charge for a registration is calculated as the annual fee, adjusted, pro rata, according to the number of days left in the registration year at the time of registration. A registration made during October and November will have to be for 12 months plus the period up to the end of November.

4.1. Students and Staff: How to Register Personally Owned Equipment for the Service

Students and staff can register their personal IT equipment on this service, and pay online via the web interface at You can also browse your existing registrations. The site is Webauth protected so you will have to use your Oxford Username and password to gain access.

4.2. Departments and Colleges: How to Register Institutionally Owned Equipment

Departmental and College staff can register institutionally owned IT equipment on this service via the web interface at Payment is made by specifying a departmental or college purchase order. You can also browse your existing registrations. The site is Webauth protected so you will have to use your Oxford Username and password to gain access.

5. Bulk Registration

If University Institutions and Colleges wish to make registrations in bulk, for example by generating the registration information from an inventory database, they should contact the service to make arrangements.

6. Registration of Equipment still under Warranty

For University Institutions and Colleges, OUCS can accept registrations for equipment which is still under the manufacturer's warranty. Such registrations will be activated automatically a few days before the warranty expires, and a registration confirmation sent to the address associated with the original registration. If applicable, an invoice will also be issued at that time.

It is hoped that this will simplify the registration process for departments and colleges with a large number of computers, as keeping track of all the different warranty expiry dates and registering the equipment with OUCS at the correct time can be time consuming and error prone. It also makes it possible for departments to implement a policy of registering all new computing equipment with OUCS at the time of purchase.

It must be emphasised, however, that these advanced registrations are not fully accepted by the Breakdown Service until the specified warranty expiry date. Until that time, you must take advantage of the manufacturer's warranty service to resolve any hardware problems. In addition, departments should notify the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service before the warranty expiry date if for some reason the registration is no longer required.

7. Renewal of Registrations

For equipment registered to departments and colleges, the Computing Services will send out reminders requesting an acknowledgement of what registrations are to be renewed or cancelled. Following receipt of the acknowledgement form an invoice will be issued. If the acknowledgement is not received, the equipment will not be re-registered. University members who have registered their own private equipment must pay their renewal fee in full to the Computing Services before their old registration expires to avoid a lapse in breakdown cover.

8. How to Call Out the Engineer

When equipment is in need of repair, to call out an engineer, follow these instructions.

9. Customer Responsibilities

Having called out the engineer, the customer is responsible for providing the engineer with reasonable access to the equipment. Customers are also expected to have the basic operating system disks, such as Windows or Mac OS installation disks, and appropriate consumables such as paper. The engineer may not be able to fully complete the repair if such items are not available. When the engineer's visit has been completed, the customer, or their representative, must be available to sign the field service report.

10. Charges and Payment

Detailed pricing information for personal computers and fileservers is available to Oxford users. This provides a detailed list of the annual charges that apply to a variety of computing equipment and peripherals. The University is providing a significant subsidy to the cost for University departments.

The cost of registration is determined by the ownership of the machine, as follows:
  1. The subsidized price, supported by the University, is only applicable to University owned equipment that conforms to the standard Equipment Specification. The cost for items that are outside of the standard specification is not subsidised.

  2. For machines owned by colleges, permanent private halls, associated institutions and similar bodies, the registration cost will be at the unsubsidised rate per machine.

  3. Machines owned, wholly or in part, by individual members of staff or students can be included in the scheme at the unsubsidised rate applying to colleges etc. with a discount for students.

  1. The charges associated with an agreement shall initially be paid at the start of the agreement.

  2. OUCS may vary the charges for an agreement with effect from the end of the contract year.

11. Contacting the Service

Enquiries or correspondence about the service should be addressed to the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service ( at the Computing Services, 13 Banbury Road.

11.1. Feedback

In order that the quality of service being provided by the maintenance contractor can be monitored, OUCS would appreciate any feedback which customers of this service might care to give.

In a related vein any comments about PC suppliers and the quality of their goods and services would also be welcomed by the Computing Services. Due to the fragmented nature of the purchase and use of personal computers throughout the University it has generally been very difficult to gain a broad impression of the quality of the various suppliers and manufacturers of equipment being used. If sufficient feed back to the Computing Services is obtained the information will be made available to anyone within the University requiring it, possibly allowing better judgements to be made about where to purchase equipment from.

12. Termination

  1. If at any time either party shall be in breach of its obligations relating to a service agreement, the other party may serve upon the defaulting party notice in writing specifying the breach complained of and requiring the same to be remedied. If the party in default does not give notice that it disputes the breach under the terms of Section 15. Notices or if the breach is in connection with the terms of Section 15. Notices and it fails within 30 days from the date of such notice to remedy the breach then upon the expiration of that period the agreement shall terminate but without prejudice to the rights of either party in respect of any antecedent claim.

  2. Sections 13. Limitation of Liability and 14. Force Majeure shall survive the termination of agreements (for whatever reason).

13. Limitation of Liability

  1. Although OUCS will use all reasonable endeavours to perform the work set out in agreements, it can make no guarantees concerning any particular outcome.

  2. OUCS accepts no responsibility for the use which the Customer makes of advice or information which it gives, or opinions which it expresses, or of materials, certificates or documents which it supplies.

  3. Without prejudice to any right which the Customer may have to claim against OUCS, the Customer undertakes to make no claim against any employee, agent or appointee of OUCS in regard to any agreements.

  4. The liability of either party for any breach of agreements, or arising in any way out of the subject matter of agreements, will not extend to any incidental or consequential damages or losses including (without limitation) loss of profit.

  5. In any event, the maximum liability of OUCS to the Customer under or otherwise in connection with agreements or their subject matter shall not exceed the return of all moneys provided to OUCS by the Customer under Section 10. Charges and Payment, together with interest at the prevailing Barclays Bank PLC rate.

14. Force Majeure

  1. If the performance by either party of any of its obligations under agreements (other than an obligation to make a payment) shall be prevented by circumstances beyond its reasonable control, then such party shall be excused from performance of that obligation for the duration of the relevant event.

15. Notices

  1. The formal representative of OUCS for the purpose of serving official notices under any agreement until further notice shall be:

    The Director, Computing Systems & Services
    Oxford University Computing Services
    13 Banbury Road
    Oxford OX2 6NN

16. Dispute Resolution

  1. Both parties acknowledge that circumstances change and that situations will arise which may not have been fully anticipated by any agreements, and that this may lead to disputes about responsibilities under the terms of agreements. In such circumstances, both parties undertake to work in good faith and to use every reasonable endeavour to find a mutually acceptable resolution to such disputes.

  2. Should a dispute of any nature arise between the parties to an agreement, then the designated nominees will use every reasonable endeavour to resolve such dispute.

  3. Should the designated nominees fail to bring any dispute to resolution within 14 days of written notice of a dispute being given by either party's nominee to the other, then a formal notice shall be served by the formal representative of the party first notifying the dispute to the other party's formal representative.

  4. The formal representatives of each party shall use every reasonable endeavour to resolve the dispute, such as but not limited to holding meetings of all interested parties.

  5. Should all efforts to address the dispute not reach a resolution within 30 days of the date of formal notification under Section 15. Notices, then the parties shall appoint an independent arbiter to consider and arbitrate on the dispute.  Should the parties not be able within 7 days to agree on such a person, then they shall ask the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford to nominate an arbiter, which selection shall be binding upon both parties.

  6. The decision of the duly appointed arbiter shall be binding upon both parties.

17. General

  1. Section headings are inserted in agreements for convenience only, and they shall not be taken into account in the interpretation of any agreements.

  2. Where the Customer is obliged to make a payment due to OUCS under or pursuant to any agreement which attracts Value-Added, Sales, Use, Excise or similar taxes or duties, the Customer shall be responsible for paying such taxes and duties.

  3. If the Customer fails to make any payment due to OUCS under any agreement then, without prejudice to the other rights and remedies of OUCS consequent upon breaches of the agreement, OUCS may charge interest on the balance outstanding, accruing from day-to-day at the rate of four per cent (4%) per annum above the Barclays Bank plc rate from time to time in force and compounded annually as at 31 December.

  4. Any variation in an agreement shall be in writing and signed by the formal representatives of both parties.

  5. All agreements are governed by English Law. The English Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any unresolved dispute which has arisen out of or in connection with this Agreement.

  6. If any clause of an agreement is held to be invalid or unenforceable under any applicable statue or rule of law then it shall be deemed to be omitted, and if as a result OUCS becomes liable for loss or damage which would otherwise have been excluded, then such liability shall be subject to the remaining clauses.