Raw Deal On Printer Ink

from the price-gouging dept

Having just had a story about the various printer companies spreading FUD about how so many ink cartridges out there are counterfeit and may damage your printer, I thought this next article was interesting. One of the "warnings" the printer companies kept saying was that these counterfeit cartridges often came only half full. That does sound like a ripoff, until you realize that the printer companies themselves are effectively doing the same thing by having their printers tell you they're empty when there's still quite a bit of ink left. In one test, they found that an ink cartridge was still 38% full when the printer said it was empty. That's 38% of a tiny cartridge that (as the article points out): "costs more than vintage champagne". They also point out that the Epson printers (such as the one I use) are the worst - because they won't let you print if the printer says it's empty - so most people are simply throwing away nearly half of the ink they bought for insanely high prices. In tests the magazine ran the least amount of remaining ink was 17%. Meanwhile, the Lexmark case (where they sued another company for figuring out a way to allow non-Lexmark cartridges to work in their printers) continues to move forward with the EFF filing a brief against Lexmark. The anger over these printer company tactics and the FUD they're spreading suggests that a more formal investigation is coming. I wouldn't be surprised if the FTC gets involved at some point to investigate these practices. Already, in the UK the Office of Fair Trading is looking into the issue.

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  1. identicon
    haiki, 28 Apr 2006 @ 8:50am

    printer ink conspiracy

    Think about a HP ink cartridge that has a warranty. Bad ink cartridge, color bad, light ink which appears watery, what-ever, they give you another one. That's the way a warranty works. You buy a recycled ink cartridge, with no HP warranty. It may work momentarily, but then you get these same messages, remove cartridge. Why should my printer shut down after purchasing a recycled ink cartridge? But then if you buy an HP ink cartridge, your printer is up and running again. Or until that time HP thinks you have printed long enough, even if you have plenty of ink. HP forces you, according to HP predetermined usage, in order for your printer to work, to buy their ink cartridges, or HP will shut your printer down.

    Don't focus on the ink cartridge, focus on the fact HP, and other printer manufacturers, stop your printer from working, because of some silly game they are playing of cheating customers before the ink runs out, or wrong ink standards, or what-ever. I say, go ahead send these stupid messages, but don't stop my printer from working. This is anti-competitive, and in violation of anti-trust laws.

    To be perfectly clear

    Hewlett Packard recycles their ink cartridges by promoting that HP cartridges be returned for recycling, using a self addressed, stamped envelope. Allowing HP, through their “refurbishing and reselling” effort to conserve resources, using the various recycling facilities of manufacturers around the world contracted by HP. Thus, the mere fact that there also are other recyclers available to refurbish, and recycle ink cartridges, but except for lower cost, and the free choice of the consumer, HP has restricted the consumer the full use, and the operation of HP printers.

    Smith and Roberson’s Business Law, ninth edition. West Publishing. Chapter 43; ANTITRUST.
    “Characterizing a type of restraint as per se illegal therefore has a significant effect on the prosecution of an antitrust suit. In such a case, the plaintiff need only show that the type of restraint occurred, she does not need to prove that the restraint limited competition.....Tying arrangements. A tying arrangement occurs when the seller of a product, service, or intangible (the "tying" product) conditions its sale on the buyers purchasing a second product, service, or intangible (the "tied" product) from the seller....Because tying arrangements limit buyers' freedom of choice and may exclude competitors, the law closely scrutinizes such agreements.”

    Hewlett Packard has, unbeknownst to customers who purchased HP printers (tying product), tied as a condition, the purchase of new HP ink cartridges (tied product), or HP recycled ink cartridges, through the use illegal anti-competitive consumer practices.

    After all, what are we talking about, it's a ball point pen refill morphed into a printer ink cartridge. It’s a recycled auto part! Again, I say Hewlett Packard, and the rest of the conspirators, play your silly games by cheating consumers on ink cost, and supplies. I say go ahead! But don’t stop me from the use of my printer.

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