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Printer Ink Buyers: Are you really getting your money's worth?

By: Cody Smith

 

We all know how expensive the ink for our desktop printers can be. We also know that we are at the mercy of those who sell their expensive cartridges to us, simply because they know we need them. Many cartridges depending on the brand of computer that you have, can be extremely expensive to replace. Top brands such as HP, Cannon and Epson lead the pack with their high prices. There is rarely a sale on these printer cartridges and it is also difficult to find a bargain on the net.

The worst part that you may not be aware of is that some of these ink cartridge manufacturers also program into the printer preset warning to tell you that the cartridge is getting low and should be replaced. Many of these warnings are give prematurely as there is still plenty of ink to carry us over for awhile. But we tend to change the cartridge when we see this warning, this can be quite costly not to mention a waste of ink. At today’s replacement prices, this can cost a great deal. So what is the alternative, well let’s consider a few things that you can do to combat the high price of printer ink.

First, you could search for generic brands of ink cartridges on the net and in retail stores. They are genuine clones of the top products on the market but at a fraction of the cost. There is no visual difference in the quality of the ink or the printed documents.

Secondly, you could ignore the warnings that the printer cartridge is running out of ink and keep using it until the print quality is bad, then replace it with a generic brand. Or you could buy a refill kit, which you could use to refill your existing cartridge at a much cheaper price than buying the name brand cartridge.

Another thing to be aware of concerns Epson’s line of printers. It is rumored that Epson embeds a chip into its ink cartridges that stops the cartridge from dispensing ink when it reaches a certain level. Sometimes this happens long before the cartridge runs out of ink. The reasoning for this “cut-off” system is to prevent customers from running out of ink or getting bad print quality. Both are poor excuses. According to one researcher who wanted to test the level of ink left in the cartridge after it stopped working, it was found that there was approximately 38% more pages that could be printed with this cartridge. This happened even though the cartridge said it was out of ink.

Consumers as a whole are frustrated by the high cost of printer ink. When companies employ tactics such as those described above, it adds to the frustration and eventually will increase consumer outrage. 

The good news is that the Office of Fair Trading is investigating the price of printer ink and has leveled accusations against manufacturers in regards to the transparency of the cost of ink. It is also requesting that an industry standard for measuring ink cartridge performance be created.  So on the bright side, it may not be long from now that we will have an accurate way to measure the remaining ink in our printer cartridges, but don’t expect that it will come cheap!

 

 
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