|The terms of this Contract are fairly self explanatory as relating to the maintenance and support of, primarily, the hardware of a computer system. However, the maintenance contractor must have some knowledge of the operating system software to enable the contractor to diagnose whether a problem truly relates to the hardware or is in fact a software error. In addition, the contractor must offer some degree of operating system software support even if this is only to liaise problems directly between customer and soft¬ware owner.
For new equipment, the manufacturer or supplier commonly offers a "warranty" period or period of "free" maintenance to its customers. Notwithstanding this "free" maintenance period, the supplier would still prefer customers to sign a Maintenance Agreement either with the supplier or with its appointed Maintenance Contractor on or as near the date of installation as possible, thus the necessity for an "Effective Date" as opposed to the Date of Installation referred to in this precedent. The Effective Date will be the date of expiry of the warranty period.
Computer hardware maintenance contracts have traditionally included "preventive" maintenance which involves the maintenance contractor visiting the customer several times a year or during the period of the contract to check the equipment; similar to servicing a car to ensure it remains in good operational order. The benefit of such visits is not only to ensure that the system hardware is checked regularly but also to afford the contractor the opportunity to keep in regular contract with the customer with a view to selling more consumables (e.g. disks, printer ribbons or cartridges); system accessories (e.g. new CD-disk drives and speakers, modems, scanners, etc.) or even contracting to support other equipment which the customer uses at the same location.
This particular style of agreement does not provide for "Hot Line Help Desk" support which is now almost standard in software system support and which can, if the contractor has the staff and resources, also be offered by hardware maintenance contractors.