*NEWS*INK CARTRIDGE RIP OFF !
*NEWS*INK CARTRIDGE RIP OFF !
2005-11-03 at 11:07:00 am #14496
Ink Cartridge Rip Off
you ever thought that the running cost of keeping your printer topped
up with ink seems a bit expensive? Well, you are not alone, recent
tests have concluded that some branded printer inks are among the
world’s most expensive liquids, with a price per ounce outpacing brands
like Dom Perignon Champagne and Chanel Perfume. If you were to fill
your car petrol tank with the same ink, it would cost you around
Â£40,000, makes unleaded look rather cheap!
For years, printer
manufacturers have coupled low-priced inkjet printers to high-priced
disposable ink cartridges, making more profit on the cartridges than
the printers. HP’s Imaging and Printing group made sales of $6.1bn and
posted a profit of $932m in the first quarter of 2004. However,
independent businesses have been manufacturing, recycling or refilling
ink and toner cartridges and selling to consumers for much lower
prices. Recently it has been alleged that technology, mostly in the
form of chips on the cartridges are being used to prevent or restrict
refills and that the cartridges read as being empty, way before they
have actually run out of ink. HP is facing a class action suit in the
US from a woman who claims the vendor’s printer cartridges stop working
at a predetermined date, rather than when they run out of ink.
2003 the Dutch Consumer Association, Consumentenbond, made similar
allegations against Epson. Consumentenbond advised its members not to
buy Epson inkjet cartridge printers because it claimed Epson’s
cartridges contained a chip which stopped them working even when they
had ink left in them. The chip doesn’t indicate the amount of ink left
in the cartridge, the association claims, but stops after a number of
print runs, even when there is enough ink available for more prints.
Consumentenbond later withdrew its claims.
The British Consumer
Association’s Which? magazine printed similar accusations, advising
consumers to steer clear of brand name printer cartridges and pick
cheaper alternatives instead.
Epson denies any wrongdoing, saying
that the chip is preventing users from running out of ink and said the
remaining ink was required to ensure proper printing. Epson also
questions the test methods being used. In the US, Epson has filed
patent infringement lawsuits against two companies that manufacture
replacement cartridges for its printers. Epson claims that certain
cartridges made by the two companies infringe on several of its
cartridge-related patents. The lawsuits are not an effort to stamp out
the third-party cartridge market and are aimed only at companies that
have infringed Epson’s patents, says Alastair Bourne, a spokesperson
for Seiko Epson in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the Lexmark DMCA case (where
they sued another company for figuring out a way to allow non-Lexmark
cartridges to work in their printers) continues to move forward with
the Electronic Frontier Foundation filing a brief against Lexmark.
year, several printer manufacturers, including HP and Lexmark, tried to
stop the European Union passing regulation that would outlaw the use of
these chips, but their pleas were largely ignored. The anger over
printer company tactics may lead to a more formal investigation at some
point to investigate these practices, already, in the UK the Office of
Fair Trading is looking into the issue. By 2006 the use of chips to
prevent or restrict refills will be strictly forbidden under European
With large demand for low cost printer cartridges, several
online suppliers have emerged. One of these is Mouse2House. They
advise, “Over years of experience we feel that on most occasions the
original branded cartridge specified for your printer will give you the
best prints, however this can be quite expensive. If the manufacturers
charged more reasonable prices, the market would be of less interest to
counterfeiters and consumers would have less interest to find
marginally cheaper products. There would not be any reason to use
questionable tactics and huge amounts of money would not have to be
wasted on developing unnecessary technology. As the market stands
today, there is understandably a huge demand for low cost printer
consumables and a big manufacturing industry exists to supply
alternative products, some very good quality and others very poor.