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OIT to refund students for overcharges on double-sided printing

By Cameron Wallace     2/13/18 9:58pm

The Office of Information Technology will refund students who have been overcharged on printing since last summer as a result of an error in printing software, according to a mass email sent to all Rice students by OIT Campus Services Director Mike Dewey on Monday. 

The OIT website states that, when printing, students will pay per piece of paper, meaning that printing duplex should be less expensive than the alternative. Since last summer, however, an error in Owlnet printing software settings resulted in students paying for two sheets of paper even when printing duplex, Dewey said.

Donaldo Almazan, a Brown College senior, said that he and a friend, Jonathan Pan, another Brown College senior, first noticed that they were being charged for two pages when being duplex last summer while taking summer classes. After discovering the problem, Pan and Almazan began taking screenshots immediately. 

“Me and Jonathan were working in Mudd Lab one night, when we were in summer classes, and we were going crazy with it coming up with conspiracies when we found out,” Almazan said. 

Pan said that after being initially shocked by the realization, he later attributed it to a misunderstanding in printing policy, and believed that the wording on the website was simply misleading.

“I had always been told that it is cheaper to print double-sided, so I thought it meant you could print two sides on one sheet of paper for the same price you'd pay for a single-sided print,” Pan said. “It wasn't until I decided to be more meticulous about my printing charges that I realized my idea of the printing policy was wrong. The language is all technically correct, just a little misleading.”

According to Dewey, however, the policy is as stated on the website, which is to charge per page when printing duplex. The OIT was not able to address the problem with the software sooner because no one had reported it, Dewey said.

“We were unaware of the billing issue until [the Thresher] called it to our attention,” Dewey said. “After getting your query, we checked our ticketing system and scanned printer/plotter reimbursements and found no requests for refunds for duplex billing issues, which means no one had reported the problem.”

Dewey stated that the issue was corrected on Feb. 2, so students should now be charged the correct amount for pages printed duplex. According to Dewey, it is important to note that there are other organizations on campus that provide printing services, such as Fondren Library and the Jones School of Business, which have different policies and prices. 

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