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 user 2004-03-20 at 12:14:00 pm Views: 88
  • #6650

    Outfox the Fakers: Ink Buying Tips

    Telling The knockoffs from the genuine article is not always easy, but here are some shopping tips and indicators that should raise red flags.

    No-name merchants: To reduce the odds of purchasing illegitimate ink, buy from an authorized retailer that the printer or ink manufacturer audits. You can check the ink manufacturer’s Web site to obtain a complete list of its authorized resellers.

    Suspect pricing: Know how much ink costs before you shop, and be cautious if you see exceptionally low prices. Although some counterfeit ink costs as much as the real thing, the bogus ink that PC World purchased had been discounted up to 40 percent below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

    Funny packaging: Fraudulent-ink packaging ranges in quality from amateurish to indistinguishable from the original it imitates. Most of the counterfeit-ink victims we talked to couldn’t tell the difference, but you should still look for abnormalities such as misprinted stickers and packaging that’s old or falling apart.

    Running on empty: Phony ink jet and toner cartridges typically run dry unusually quickly because their tanks aren’t full. Keep track of the average number of printouts you get with your ink cartridges, and be suspicious of ones that run dry extremely early.

    Performance problems: Color ink is harder to counterfeit than black. Many of the phony-ink victims we interviewed kept cleaning their printers’ printheads in a vain effort to get the colors to look right. Compare the quality of great-looking printouts made with previous cartridges, and watch for differences in color between old and new samples.

    Disasters: Bogus cartridges may leak, spit, or pop apart inside ink jet printers, creating messes that can take hours to clean. When replacing a cartridge that you’ve had good results with, do a side-by-side comparison with the new one and look for inconsistencies, particularly in molded plastic seams or in controller chips, if any. (Cartridges with integrated electronics are not as likely to be counterfeited as older, nonelectronic cartridges.)