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HP Inc releases EMEA anti-counterfeiting update

April 29, 2016

The OEM has sent out the update for corporate customers, warning them about the “grey market” for cartridge purchases.hplogonew

The document, ACF Update for Corporate Customers, discusses a range of different developments that the HP Inc Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) has undertaken in relation to counterfeit cartridges. The first is a “warning for Europe”, with western Europe seeing “considerable counterfeiting and grey marketing activities”, and the OEM warned customers to “stay particularly vigilant, as fraudsters are trying to sell risky illicit products to unwitting users”.

Its ACF experts are said to be “strongly active to protect customers in the region”, with reference made to previous raids in the EMEA late last year. These included seizures of 2,000 fake cartridges in the UK at a “local distributor”, while 450,000 counterfeit cartridges were seized between November and March across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Tips given include “explicitly request original HP”, “beware of suspiciously low prices”, “buy from trusted vendors”, ad “only accept products in unopened original HP packaging”.

The experts have also conducted around 60 customer delivery inspections (CDIs) across the EMEA between November and March, “checking numerous printing supplies deliveries directly on the premises of key customers”. Around 2,200 illegal items were found in these inspections, and corporate customers were provided with links to both a buying guide and a CDI user guide.

470 channel partner protection audits (CPPAs) were also undertaken in the same period, with HP noting that experts “went to great lengths to strengthen” channel partners “against fraud”. The audits found a “remarkable” pass rate of around 87 percent, which HP Inc added “shows that customers can stay reassured when purchasing at authorised HP channel partners”.

The report then moved onto the grey market, with the OEM warning that “purchasing grey market cartridges can come with severe risks, and customers might in fact end up getting counterfeits instead”. This is because grey market companies “might use grey marketing as a pretext for selling fakes, as it conveniently explains lower prices”, and it says that most of these goods are HP Inc products “diverted from authorised distribution channels or imported into another country or region”.

This has been done “without consent and knowledge of HP as the brand owner”, and such a practice is “unlawful […] in many countries and regions”, such as the EU. The OEM recommends customers “safely source original, compliant HP cartridges and get the high quality you are expecting”, and also urges them to “always specify that you want original HP products intended for sale in your region”.

Marking out three steps to “check deliveries for potential grey market toners”, HP Inc mentions regionalisation labels, Chinese character and legitimate exceptions. The first of these indicates “where a product is intended/not intended to be sold”, and their “absence is not an indicator”, as they are supplied “on selected products only”. The second meanwhile notes that “in most cases, toner cartridge boxes displaying Chinese characters […] can be regarded as grey market” in the EMEA.

Finally, the OEM warns customers to “please keep in mind that there are a number of HP toner cartridges that can legitimately carry Chinese writing” in the EMEA’, including the HP 93A (CZ192A), Economy Toner (L-SKUs), dual or multipacks, and contractual cartridges (C-SKUs). The OEM recently reported on a huge series of raids across the EMEA, with over 230,000 counterfeit items seized including cartridges, components and packaging materials.




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