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
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2003 @ 5:02am

    You get a new print head, not just ink.

    With HP and most other brands, you get a new print head, not just ink, in the print cartridge. That's a big part of why the printer itself is so inexpensive. The most complex part of the printer is in the cartridge, not in the printer.
    I understand that Epson cartridges contain only ink.

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