WHAT’S THE STORY WITH PRINTER INK CTGS ?

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WHAT’S THE STORY WITH PRINTER INK CTGS ?

 user 2006-09-06 at 10:19:00 am Views: 48
  • #16394

    What’s the story with printer ink cartridges?(IRELAND)
    A
    licence to print money: While the ink cartridges used for photograph
    quality inkjet printers for home use can’t actually print money, people
    who use them frequently often wish they did as they cost so much and
    need to be replaced so often.Anyone who has bought themselves a printer
    for €60 only to realise that the replacement cartridges needed to keep
    them printing cost at least as much again will not be surprised to
    learn that the ink is more expensive than vintage champagne, almost
    seven times more, according to one report.In fact printer ink is so
    expensive that a recent investigation in the US uncovered a healthy
    trade in fake branded cartridges, putting it right up there with Gucci
    handbags and Rolex watches as the counterfeit item of choice for many
    criminals.When digital cameras became affordable and the quality of
    colour printers improved dramatically, consumers started looking
    forward to unlimited cheap photographs printed instantly at home. But
    it was not to be. A single high-quality A4 colour photograph can use
    more than €1 worth of ink, depending on the printer, while an A4 sheet
    of photo-quality paper will cost around 50 cent.There are ways to make
    savings. Unless high quality prints are essential, the draft printing
    mode should always be selected and if colour is not completely
    necessary, documents should be printed in greyscale. Generic ink
    cartridges are significantly cheaper than brand names while having
    cartridges refilled rather than replaced can cost as much as 60 per
    cent less.Gerry Smyth, managing director of Cartridge World, which
    specialises in refilling cartridges says that like all businesses there
    are good and bad ink products available and people need to shop around
    to make sure the ink they are getting is of a sufficiently high
    quality. For its part Cartridge World offers a comprehensive guarantee
    on both the quality of the prints its refilled cartridges produce, and
    the machines that use them.”One of the best forms of advertising is
    word of mouth and I don’t think our business would have grown at the
    rate it has in recent years if we did not offer a quality service,”
    Smyth says. There are now 41 Cartridge World outlets in Ireland with
    five more in the pipeline compared to two years ago when there was just
    six.The chain offers a full refund if users notice any difference
    between its refills and the original cartridges. “We also guarantee the
    machines and we do it with total confidence. The inks we use are
    specific to the individual printer models and are filled to the exact
    specifications.” This is the stuff of manufacturers’ nightmares. One of
    the reasons cartridges are so expensive is that many printer
    manufacturers sell the hardware at a loss and rely on the cartridges to
    ensure long-term profits. In fact some companies can make as much as 90
    per cent of their profits from the sale of ink cartridges.They are so
    loath to see people circumventing the need to buy high-cost
    replacements that many will void warranties if generic inks or refills
    are used and some have actually started installing chips in an attempt
    to force users to rely on their branded cartridges. Some manufacturers
    have even gone so far as to develop cartridge killing technology which
    will fuse a cartridge and render it useless once the ink falls below a
    certain level.This is not just objectionable from the perspective of
    financially strapped consumers – there are serious environmental
    concerns about developing products with such an extreme level of
    in-built obsolescence.”Recycling is a huge part of our business,” says
    Smyth. “There are huge benefits to the environment to be gained from
    refilling and recycling the cartridges. And it is recycling that saves
    people money, in some cases as much as 50 per cent of the full price.”
    When buying a printer, a good rule of thumb is the cheaper the printer
    the dearer the cartridge. Make sure to ask what the price per page of
    each printer is. If they don’t know, don’t buy it. Some companies
    display the information on their websites while reviews of other models
    can be easily found online and will have the information as a matter of
    course. Work out roughly how many pages you will want to print per week
    and then work out the cost over a couple of years.Above all else, when
    buying a printer make sure to get the one that meets your needs and not
    one the store wants to sell you. If you don’t want to print in colour,
    a good black-and-white laser printer costs around €100. They are
    faster, cost less to run and produce clearer text than inkjet printers.
    Entry-level colour laser printers cost from €200 and while they cannot
    print photos they are fine for simple graphics.Earlier this summer
    British consumer magazine Which? carried out a survey on printers.
    Among its best buys was the Canon Pixma IP5200R with a price tag in the
    UK of £81 (€120.30). Which? described it as a “great all-rounder
    printer that produced good-quality printouts in all the tests”. Even
    with this best buy the costs associated with it were significant. The
    price of printing a single black and white page was 2p (3 cent)while
    the cost of printing an A4 photo was 73p (€1.08). Based on average home
    usage the projected three-year cost of running the printer was £156
    (€232). A couple of Hewlett-Packard PhotoSmart models also scored
    highly in the Which? survey.One brand reviewed as part of the survey
    was given a savage review particularly because it warned that the ink
    was running low when the cartridges were still nearly half full. It is
    not alone in this and a number of conspiracy theorists PriceWatch spoke
    to believe some pessimistic machines are programmed to say the
    cartridges are half empty when machines of a more sunny disposition
    would declare them half full, just one more reason to do your homework
    before splashing out.