You planning on getting a service agreement with Ricoh? If so they will charge you to get it up to "serviceable" standard. The parts and labor will be expensive. I would just buy direct from Ricoh and haggle with pricing. Worked for me quite well.
Depends on the setup. Is machine new or 2nd hand, we bought our first Xerox 3rd party and brand new. Was serviced by an independent company as part of the service contract. Never had a problem. We then bought our second machine direct from Xerox and the service was still actually done by the same crowd as the previous machine.
Personally, yes I'd recommend going direct but 3rd party can be fine too but do your research into them first.
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