Get Credit for That Old IBM PC, Laptop

WASHINGTON (07/17/2000) - Federal agencies will be able to obtain credit toward the purchase of new IBM Corp. PCs and laptops by donating their old computers to charity via a unique governmentwide contract.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Special Services office and the Air Force Medical Logistics Office awarded a decentralized blanket purchase agreement last week to iGov.com, an online computer equipment reseller, that would allow government customers to receive a trade-in allowance for their older IBM equipment at the time of purchase.

Agencies could receive a US$300 credit for IBM PCs that have 486 or faster processors and are Year 2000-compliant, said Corinne Lingebach, iGov.com's program manager for the Technical Refresh and Trade-In program, which is open to all government agencies and runs through Oct. 8, 2002. The credit can be applied to the purchase of a new computer. Agencies could receive a $500 credit for each laptop turned in.

The BPA, based on iGov.com's General Services Administration schedule contract, "is a better value, and it enhances programs we already have," said government contracting officer Mary Rust. "Only iGov offers the trade-in, so it's unique."

The contract guarantees iGov.com at least $500,000 in sales, but the company anticipates more than $25 million in sales over the life of the contract, said Brad Mack, iGov.com's vice president of sales.

In the future, Rust hopes to add other types of computer equipment to the program. Although there are no other contracts that offer trade-in credits, Rust's office does offer other unique programs that benefit schools and other charities.

IGov.com partnered with Gifts In Kind International, an Alexandria, Va.-based charity organization, to refurbish federal agencies' obsolete systems and deliver them to charitable organizations.

Agencies can specify a charity or allow Gifts In Kind to choose the charity that will receive the computer. Gifts In Kind's Recycle Technology program, which supplies refurbished computers to needy organizations, has donated about 20,000 computers a year to nonprofit organizations since it started in 1994, said Doug McAllister, Gifts In Kind's director of marketing and communications.

"Computers and technology are high on the needs list for charity," McAllister said.

Responsibility for deleting classified information from computer hard drives or removing the hard drives themselves rests with the agency trading in the equipment, Mack said.

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