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UK retailer discusses cartridge “rip-off”

February 13, 2017

cartridge rip off

Darren Turner, Managing Director of MY Total Office Solutions, wrote about the high cost of refilling and inkjet.

Turner wrote on LinkedIn about the “great printer cartridge rip-off”, stating OEMs “must see us coming and laugh all the way to the bank […] refills are so exorbitantly expensive that a printer cartridge costs far more drop for drop than fine Champagne, vintage port or Chanel No 5”. He added that “if you think that you are getting through your ink cartridge more quickly than ever, you are probably right.

“Over the past decade manufacturers have actually reduced the amount of ink inside them. At the same time they are making it as hard as possible for you to buy cheaper second-hand, recycled and refilled cartridges”. He claimed “the days when companies sold long-lasting products that rarely needed replacing or servicing are gone”, and reflected on UK supermarkets advertising AIOs “for less than” £30 ($37/€35).

This “seems, at first glance, a fantastic bargain [but]the ink cartridge or cartridges that work with the printer cost north of the £30 you have just paid”. He adds “the cost of ink is truly astronomical”, with “a typical HP cartridge costing £13 ($16/€15) contains a measly 4ml of ink — the equivalent of more than £3,000 ($3,754/€3,528) a litre”, and notes OEMs claim “a cartridge isn’t just a plastic box with ink inside […] it’s a sophisticated device that sprays the ink on to paper and cleans itself”.

He adds that some of this “may be true. But it’s also true that the ink inside those sophisticated cartridges is being sold in ever tinier quantities”. He cites HP’s “best-selling cartridge” in 2004, the HP45, with 42ml of ink and costing £20 ($25/€23) with a yield of 930 pages, compared to today’s with 5ml, at £13 ($16/€15) and a yield of only 200 pages. Turner points out “that doesn’t represent great value for money”, and that “if you want more evidence of how greedy” OEMs have become, “look at the phenomenon of XL”.

He calls XL refills a “marketing gimmick that allows [OEMs] to put more ink in standard-sized cartridges”, with the 300 black with 5ml of ink £13, and the XL version with 16ml £20 to £25 ($25/€23 to $31/€29). He says this is “brilliant marketing. First we are persuaded to buy ‘standard’ cartridges that are half full — and then to pay £10 more for 10ml more of ink in those cartridges, even though the additional cost to the manufacturers is pennies”.

Consumers can contest this “by buying second-hand cartridges that have been processed and cleaned before being refilled”, and “cost half the amount”, but OEMs “go out of their way to make it difficult to reuse their cartridges”, such as using chips, which they call “a sensible measure to stop piracy”, but “recyclers say that it restricts competition”.

He recommends “buying the XL versions if they are available”, as “they do work out slightly cheaper”, while you can “save maybe 40 percent by shopping around for a quality refurbished, second-hand refill”, but should “make sure it’s from a source with a good reputation, as there are a lot of cowboys and poor quality products in circulation”.

He also warns about DIY refill kits, as “an ink cartridge ideally needs cleaning out before it is reused and may need resetting or even the existing chip replacing. And you may find the quality of printing goes down if you refill them at home, not to mention the mess it can make”. He finally recommends that “there is now another way”, adding that his business’ Infinity programme offers a printer and “an unlimited amount of ink cartridges” for £9.99 ($12.50/€11.74) a month”, calling it a “game-changer”.

Categories : Around the Industry

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