March 5, 2013
Following their discussion with the Guardian on the same issues, Brooks and Connett were both interviewed by the Daily Mail on the same issue, with the newspaper referring to the situation as “the great printer rip off”.
Harking to the previous reported example that “ink costs more than vintage champers”, the newspaper noted that the “devious new tricks” from the OEMs mean families “can spend up to £2,000 [$3,029/€2,321] every year on cartridge refills alone”, but that the remanufacturing option is an attractive choice that consumers should look into.
Noting that “the people who make printer cartridges must see us coming and laugh all the way to the bank”, the paper added that “over the past decade manufacturers have actually reduced the amount of ink inside them” whilst “at the same time they are making it as hard as possible for shoppers to buy cheaper second hand, recycled and refilled cartridges” from the aftermarket.
The paper adds that “in a world of scams, dodgy deals and consumer cons, surely the great computer ink rip-off is one of the most galling”, claiming that it is symptomatic of the “21st century business model to initially sell consumers stuff on the cheap — and then force us to come back again and again for outrageously pricy accessories”.
The article also highlighted UK supermarket Tesco selling an HP AIO for less than £30 ($45/€34), adding that whilst it’s a “fantastic bargain” the two ink cartridges “cost at least £20 [$30/€23]” and “within a few months the owner will have spent twice the cost of the printer on ink”.
Brooks stated to the paper that “the amount of ink in cartridges has fallen in the past decade, even though they look the same size”, and added: “The way the consumer is being treated is a massive rip-off. Most cartridges cost the major companies less than 50p [$0.75/€0.58] to manufacture and they are selling them for exorbitant amounts of money.”
Musing on the recent trend for XL inkjets, the paper refers to them as a “marketing gimmick” and “brilliant marketing”, and muses on the cleaning cycles that cause many inkjets to use more ink that they would be due to ink being run through for the purpose of cleaning. Discussing remanufactured or refilled supplies, the Daily Mail adds that “consumers can fight back” by using them, but that OEMs “go out of their way to make it difficult” with chip software and pop-ups.
Connett stated to the newspaper his analogy for this situation, adding: “Imagine if you bought a new car and you were low on fuel but you weren’t allowed to stop at an Esso or Texaco garage because your manufacturer insists you can only use Shell. You would be furious. Yet that’s what is happening with printers and ink.”
In enquiring with the OEMs, the newspaper stated Canon said “bafflingly that reducing the amount of ink in cartridges did not mean they were worse value for money”, whilst HP stated less ink was put in “due to the increased efficiency and reduced size of our printers”, and Epson “questioned the quality” of third party consumables, also remarking ink levels had gone down and cartridges had in turn become “more efficient”.
In terms of recommendations, the newspaper tells readers to use XL cartridges as “they may be expensive – but page for page they do work out slightly cheaper” as well as using remanufactured or refilled cartridges, advising users to “search the internet for tips” if met with OEM messages. It also warned of the perils of “DIY refill kits”, and urges users to avoid three-in-one colour cartridges.
As a conclusion however, the Daily Mail sarcastically notes that consumers can “challenge the ridiculous cost of printer refills […] by writing hundreds of letters to consumer groups and MPs and industry types. But unless you’re made of money, it’s probably best to use a pen”.