Departments are encouraged to seek information on products and services from vendor representatives. They are a valuable source of information. Procurement Services should also be advised of needs so they can assist in locating vendors and developing a procurement plan. To help you in dealing with vendor representatives and to help you avoid some common pitfalls, the following guidelines are suggested: Advise Procurement Services in advance of contacting vendors. Procurement can provide information. Contact more than one vendor whenever possible. The more alternatives you have, the better. Give equal information to all vendors so each has an equal opportunity to compete. Discuss all aspects of the needs. Use a life cycle approach. Consider what happens after the department owns the equipment. Where does the vendor's responsibility end? What about maintenance? Operational skills? Repair? State on your Requisition a complete description of the item and attach all pertinent information about the suggested vendor and any product literature. Do not commit the University by telling a salesperson he or she has the order. Only a signed Purchase Order can commit the University. (To commit otherwise may commit yourself.) NEVER accept payments or gifts from vendors. Guard against overreaction to a vendor created crisis (e.g., "Price goes up next month."; "This is the last one in stock."). Don't wait until the last minute to submit your Requisition. The more time Purchasing and the vendor have to process the purchase, the better the job can be done for you. Never place orders that are the result of unsolicited phone calls to you. Such items have been found to be overpriced and inferior in quality.