Is Printer Ink a “Consumer Rip-Off”? 3 Facts Printer Manufacturers Don’t Want Consumers to Know

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Consumers quickly realize that the cost of purchasing a printer is minimal when compared to the cost of operating that printer, particularly the high cost of buying replacement ink and toner cartridges. Consumers can save 50% - 80% by using remanufactured cartridges and supplies.

“Our customers typically save 50% or more when they buy remanufactured cartridges from us instead of visiting their local office supply store.”

Shopping for replacement ink and toner cartridges can be an “eye opening” experience. Consumers quickly realize that the cost of purchasing a printer is minimal when compared to the cost of operating that printer, particularly the high cost of buying replacement ink and toner cartridges. It is not uncommon to find that the cost of replacing each of the four color toner cartridges in some of today’s most popular color laser printers will cost more than the price paid to purchase the printer. The purpose of this article isn’t to support or defend the cost the manufacturers charge for these consumables, rather to raise consumer awareness and to inform them about alternative replacement cartridge options.

The printer manufacturers claim that the retail cost of replacement cartridges is not “high” at all, rather “fair”. They back up these claims by stating the costs reflect the billions of dollars spent on the research and development of the science behind the ink and cartridge technologies. The reality is that the “printer consumables” product lines, which includes replacement ink and toner cartridges, are some of the most profitable product lines for printer manufacturers. The cost of printer consumables (ink and toner) has risen due to a very high consumer demand for these cartridges.

Facts Every Consumer Should Know About Ink and Toner Cartridges

Fact #1: Using Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges Will Save Consumers Money

“Remanufactured” and “New Compatible” replacement ink and toner cartridges can be used by consumers instead of using “Brand New” OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cartridges.

  •     Remanufactured cartridges from reputable suppliers typically consist of a “re-conditioned” cartridge that has been given new parts (wipers, blades, drum, toner, ink, etc). These cartridges are subjected to quality control testing, performance testing, and then sealed and packaged for sale.
  •     “New Compatible” cartridges are actually manufactured new cartridges and not re-conditioned cartridges. They are considered “generic” versions of their respective OEM cartridges.

Remanufactured and new compatible ink and toner cartridges cost much less than their OEM counterparts. Most reputable vendors of these cartridges offer them at discounts of 50% - 80% less than the new OEM cartridge would cost.

“Our customers typically save 50% or more when they buy remanufactured cartridges from us instead of visiting their local office supply store.” states Anthony Allen, President of PrinterExperts.com, a Dayton, Ohio based internet retailer that sells remanufactured and compatible ink and toner cartridges. “We have one customer that operates 48 auto parts stores across Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio that started buying remanufactured toner cartridges from us, which resulted in annual savings of $36,000.”

Consumers who replace ink and toner cartridges just once or twice annually can save hundreds of dollars, while consumers who replace their cartridges more frequently can realize annual savings in the thousands of dollars.

Fact #2: Using Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges Does NOT Impact the Warranty of the Printer

Consumers are often misinformed and led to believe that using remanufactured or compatible cartridges in their printer will void their printer’s warranty. This is completely false. Ink and toner cartridges are “user replaceable” parts and consumers have the right, under US Federal Trade Commission Law, to use non-oem or non-branded parts when replacing them. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act is a United States of America Federal Law that states "Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty." Enacted in 1975, it is the federal statute that governs warranties on consumer products.

Consumers are encouraged to research this law and get a better understanding of their rights as consumers.

Fact #3: Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges Perform “As Well As” New OEM Branded Cartridges

The ink and toner “aftermarket” is made up of many companies selling remanufactured and compatible printer consumables, mainly ink and toner cartridges. To put it in perspective, a recent study valued the global toner cartridge and toner supply industry at $40 billion annually. Aftermarket toner cartridges and toner supplies make up 25% of the market or $10 billion annually.

The reason behind this growing figure is simple. The $10 billion “Aftermarket” toner cartridge and supplies market exists because these products work and offer consumers lower cost alternatives to buying new oem branded supplies.

Consumers considering the purchase of aftermarket toner products should seek out a reputable vendor. Reputable vendors of these products typically offer 100% satisfaction guarantees on their products that will allow consumers to return the products if they are not satisfied with the performance of the supplies. Business accreditations, such as Better Business Bureau, and other company accolades should also be investigated when trying to determine a company’s ability to supply quality products and services.

Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges purchased from reputable vendors and suppliers are going to work in the printers they were designed for. Print quality, color quality, and page yields should be equal to that of the oem version of the cartridge or product.

In conclusion, consumers are encouraged to increase their own knowledge of the facts stated above as the printer manufacturers don’t promote this type of information. Understanding the information in this article and your rights as a consumer will lead to making better purchasing decisions and hopefully save you a few bucks during the process.

PrinterExperts.com is owned by Printer Experts LLC. They sell OEM brand, remanufactured, and compatible printer supplies for most major brands including Brother, Canon, Dell, HP, Konica-Minolta, Lexmark, Okidata, Samsung, and Xerox.

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Bryce Alexander
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