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Outwiting Printer Companies. Think Again

By: Cody Smith

You go out and purchase a computer, then a printer and you think you are all set right? Wrong! What happens when the ink cartridge in your printer runs out of ink soon after you bought the printer because you were a printing fool? Well, you have to go out and buy a replacement cartridge that’s what. Now for the shocker, when you find the replacement cartridge that you need be prepared for the shock of your life. You will find that they don’t come cheap, often costing as much as $40 to replace.

That sticker price is going to be hitting you in the face each and every time you have to buy a replacement cartridge, that’s the sad fact of it all. Worse yet is the fact that for this price you will get about a few hundred pages before you have to do it all over again. You can actually spend more in a year on ink cartridges than you spent on buying the printer itself.

Just imagine if you have a family that has children who need to use the printer to print school projects. It'’ not unreasonable for them to spend upwards of $100 or more per month in replacement cartridges. It could go even higher depending on the number of pages that are printed each month. It’s quite a bite out of your pocket.

So what are the alternatives to paying high prices for replacement ink cartridges? Simply by purchasing a refill kit available for your specific printer can be the most economical choice that you have. Depending on the type of printer that you own, your savings will vary. As with anything else, prices fluctuate depending on the manufacturer of the printer. Typically a refill kit will cost anywhere from $10 to $30. The benefit here though is that you get about 4-5 times more ink than you would if you purchased a replacement cartridge. Usually you can refill your cartridge 2-3 times from the same kit. When you calculate the cost of refill, it is a fraction of the overall cost of the kit making it economical.

Once you purchase a refill kit, the next best thing to do to outwit the printer companies is to buy replacement ink in bulk. Since you already have the tools that you need to perform the refill such as the syringe and the air balance clip, all you really need is the ink. A one-pint bottle of black ink can be as cheap as $27 and give you up to 70 refills. That allows you to save a great deal of money and makes the average cost per refill about 39 cents.

The downside to using refill kits is that it takes time and effort to do and it can be a messy process, especially if you spill the ink. As long as you cover the work surface with an old cloth and wear rubber gloves, you should be able to minimize the mess.

Of course you should know that printer companies are not thrilled that consumers have turned to using refill kits instead of buying replacement cartridges. Why? Well because they lose money, of course!
The simple truth is that printer companies make their money from selling ink jet cartridges - and not the printers themselves. This is why they work hard to convince people not to buy refill kits or third party ink cartridges. They try everything possible to dissuade consumers, even to the extent of telling them that the print quality will be inferior, that the refill ink will damage the printer or that the warranty on their printer will be voided if they use refill kits.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact you will find no difference in the print quality from the ink in the refill kit vs. the ink from a cartridge. Nor will you visibly see and difference in the performance of your printer in general. As far as the warranty being voided, don’t worry about that either. There is legislation in place to prevent manufacturers from voiding warranties for this reason. So you can use refill kits to your heart’s content.

There’s more good news regarding refill kits. There is a company called Repeat-O-Type that promises to repair your printer if it's damaged by one of its products. So not only do they sell refill kits but guarantee that if you damage your printer by installing a cartridge that contains their refill ink, you don’t pay one single penny. This certainly adds to the attractiveness of using refill kits doesn’t it? One thing you should note is that if you do damage your printer by using another type of refill kit, the manufacturer of the printer has a right to charge for the repair, but not for parts that are under warranty. Just something to keep in mind.

Compatible Cartridges

Repeat-O-Type also offers replacement cartridges as well as refill kits. Their replacement cartridges cost considerably less than brand named cartridges. For instance, their black inks replacement cartridge that is compatible with Epson’s ink jet printer’s costs about $9. This is a far cry from the name brand that runs about $30 or so. Best all, the replacement cartridge provides the same printing quality as the name brand cartridge does.

One quick tip to note here, regardless of whether you use a name brand cartridge or a replacement cartridge, you can save 50% more ink simply by setting your printer to print in “draft” mode as opposed to “best” mode. The quality is lessened but this is OK if you just needing copies for filing or distributing informally. IN addition you can save ink by not printing unnecessary graphic files. If you don’t need the graphic, don’t print it. Finally, if you can get away with printing in “gray scale” then do so. Why waste the colored ink if you don’t need to. This will save you a great deal as well.

Not the Real McCoy, Counterfeit Ink

Did you know that 5% of all the ink jet cartridges sold today are counterfeit? Well it’s true according to PC World magazine. This constantly dupes consumers because they can’t tell the difference from the name brand vs. the fake cartridges. They look like the real deal!

It’s not the third-party cartridge makers that are doing this either, it’s a group of counterfeiters who are pretending to be the familiar name brand manufacturers that we have come to know. You can purchase these cartridges usually from little known or no name merchants.

One thing that you need to be aware of with these counterfeit cartridges is that although they may look real they can leak or explode and seriously cause damage to your printer. So how do you protect yourself from these unscrupulously manufacturers and merchants? Simply by buying cartridges only from well know retailers both on and off-line or by ordering directly from the printer manufacturers site.

So what cause all these fakes to suddenly spring up everywhere, well to put it simply, cost. The cost of printer cartridges keeps steadily going up and this causes frustration in the consumer. Unscrupulous manufacturers know this and will respond by offering them what they think they want. They just don’t disclose the fact that they are creating impostors from more popular name brand cartridges. So the real issue is not the fact that these companies are engaging in illegal activity, but rather the fact that ink replacement costs are too high and it is the catalyst for these types of companies to spring up.

If the printer manufacturers were more reasonable about costs of replacement cartridges and not inflate them, there would be no demand for counterfeit products because ink cartridges would be more affordable. The second problem is that printer manufacturers are selling printers cheaper these days and count on the revenue from selling ink cartridges. Some include only half-filled cartridges in new printers to force consumers to have to buy the expensive replacement sooner than expected. The only way to foreseeably lower the cost of the cartridges is by raising the price of the printers, putting the value in the machine itself. Until they recognize this, nothing will change.

Unfortunately like everything else, the printer manufacturers are all waiting for each other to raise the price of printers so they can follow suit. No one wants to be the first to jump into the pool. Until one, just one of them steps forward and does this, counterfeiters will increase in abundance as will their bogus products.


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