September 8, 2016
Kyocera and the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) commented that counterfeit cartridges offer “short term gain” and “long term pain”.
IT Pro outlined the issue with cartridge counterfeiting, noting that “immediate cost savings can mean bigger long-term problems for consumers”, and cited Kyocera’s announcement that it had seized over €5 million ($5.6 million) in counterfeit cartridges “during that month alone”, compared to €10 million ($11.2 million) in the whole of the year before.
IT Pro added that “looking at this, it’s easy to conclude that the market for counterfeit or ‘grey’ goods is booming”, with so-called ‘grey’ goods products “destined for certain countries [that] are diverted to countries where they are not licensed”, and while this “is not illegal, the legitimacy of the product cannot be guaranteed”. In turn, the “distribution and sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal offence, and is often linked [to] criminal activity”.
The article adds that demand for consumables “has caused a spike in the number of counterfeit products currently hitting the market”, with Kyocera launching a campaign “to educate consumers about the risks of buying counterfeit gear”, describing the “concerning rise in the scale of problem” as justification. As a result of high prices, customers are tempted “to buy less expensive alternatives”, which “can seem like a good idea at the time”, but “you can end [up] paying a much higher price further down the line”.
It also claims that “using products that don’t legitimately come from the manufacturer can result in a drop in print quality”, such as “streaky grey backgrounds, drop off and even ghosting”, and alleges that “the risk of damaging your printer” through “non-genuine toner or ink” can damage “good-quality printing products and reduces the overall yield of the machine”. This, it adds, increases the total cost of ownership and offsets “any short-term benefits of the cheap toner”.
The use of ‘grey’ market goods could also “invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty”, so consumers would have “no comeback” should counterfeits break their printers. Research from Context earlier this year found also that only 15 percent of customers can identify ‘grey’ market goods, so retailers and dealers have called for OEMs to “provide better labelling of their products”.
The ICCE, a “non-profit making organisation” made up of OEMs to counteract “the increase in counterfeit consumables across the region”, offered advice on checking cartridges are not counterfeit, including looking at the “product and packaging”, and whether the “same level of performance and print quality” is provided by a new purchase. It also recommends checking that prices are not “significantly lower”, or that you’ve purchased through an “authorised” reseller.
Jonathan Robbins, Kyocera Document Solutions UK’s Consumables and Spares Sales Manager, commented: “Counterfeit imaging supplies are often dangerous, environmentally unfriendly and cheat consumers of the quality they are entitled to expect from branded consumables. It’s time to take the fight to the criminals, and stand up for resellers and businesses who are being duped into buying sub-standard products, often in good faith, by increasingly organised criminals.”
“We’re asking businesses to only buy from an approved Kyocera consumables partner or run the risk of supporting organised crime and trafficking gangs. Counterfeit products are increasingly hard to spot, so we would recommend resellers and customers are suspicious of consumables that do not have Kyocera labelling or an unrealistically low price. If in doubt, our team is available to answer any questions or verify suspect products.”
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