Failures

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
drm, ink cartridges, region coding, toner

Companies:
canon, epson, hp, lexmark, xerox



Your Toner Is No Good Here: Region-Coding Ink Cartridges... For The Customers

from the all-ink-must-provide-proof-of-citizenship.-that-is-all. dept

Everyone likes buying stuff with a bunch of built-in restrictions, right? The things we "own" often remain the property of the manufacturers, at least in part. That's the trade-off we never asked for -- one pushed on us by everyone from movie studios to makers of high-end cat litter boxes and coffee brewers. DRM prevents backup copies. Proprietary packets brick functions until manufacturer-approved refills are in place.

Here's another bit of ridiculousness, via Techdirt reader techflaws. German news outlet c't Magazin is reporting that Xerox printers are going further than the normal restrictions we've become accustomed to. For years, printer companies have made sure users' printers won't run without every single slot being filled with approved cartridges. This includes such stupidity as disabling every function (including non-ink-related functions like scanning) in all-in-one printers until the printer is fed.

Xerox is going further. Not only do you need to refill the ink, but you have to fill it with local ink. techflaws paraphrases the paywalled, German-language article.

Xerox uses region coding on their toner catridges AND locks the printer to the first type used. So if you use an NA (North America) catridge you can't use the cheaper DMO (Eastern Europe) anymore. The printer's display does NOT show this, nor does the hotline know about it. When c't reached out to Xerox, the marketing drone claimed, this was done to serve the customer better, I kid you not.
Ah, the old "serve the customer better by limiting his/her options," as seen everywhere DRM/DRM-esque restrictions are applied.

But while c't Magazin has only recently stumbled across this issue of region-locked ink cartridges, it's by no means a new issue. Techflaws also points to a 2011 forum post by a user who ran into this problem with his Xerox printer.
I have seen hundreds of posts regarding the rejection of ink based on the location of purchase. I asume that Xerox does this to prevent the purchase of ink not manufactured by them. However - forcing a client to pay for a service for a snippet that needs to be installed in order to use the printer is ABSURD.

I changed from HP to Xerox because I thought it was a trusted name. I have instead learned that in the process of trying to protect against counterfeit - it is the paying customer that will get a non-functioning printer - with no help unless you are willing to pay for the printer to work as it should have to begin with.
So, it appears that if you attempt to forcefeed a Xerox printer not-from-around-here ink, it will potentially brick the device. At that point, you're forced to ask for a Xerox rep to drop by and unlock your purchased printer for you. Here's another confirmation of Xerox's "locals only" ink limitations.
As I live in the UK my ink blocks are for the European market. If I purchase from ebay, ink blocks for the USA or Asian market and insert them into my printer, the printer will stop with a contact your engineer code on the LCD. The printer is now unusable.
The rate charged to the person in the forum post quoted above was $596/hour. There's no missing decimal point there. Sure, it's only 10 minutes of work, but it's $60 being shelled out by a paying customer just so his printer will go back to printing. The only thing actually "broken" is Xerox's business model.

This person notes they switched from HP to Xerox because the latter was supposedly more trustworthy. Apparently not. Printers aren't a business. They're a racket. HP is no better than Xerox. It too will lock your printer to a certain region to ensure you receive only the best customer service purchase only most profitable ink cartridges.

If dates are anything to go by, HP likely pioneered the bullshit that is region-locked ink. This is from a 2005 Slashdot post. (The internal link to the Wall Street Journal is dead, so it has been omitted.)
Looks like the printer cartridge manufacturers will be borrowing techniques from Hollywood. HP introduced region coding for some of the newest printers sold in Europe. HP's US location and US dollar sliding lead to the situation, where cartridge prices in Europe are significantly higher than those in the States. In the Wall Street Journal article HP representative in Europe claims the company doesn't make any money off regional coding for cartridges, and that consumers will win once the US dollar rises over Euro.
Unbelievably, the rep says customers will "win" if an aspect HP can't control (currency exchange rates) happens to shift in the customers' favor. Why not just say consumers will be better off if those scratch tickets are winners? Or if the housing market rebounds and brings the residence housing the HP printer back into the black?

How much have consumers "won" since 2005?

In January of 2005 (when the post appeared at Slashdot), the exchange rate was 1.312 ($$ to Euros). A decade later, the exchange rate is 1.162. The dollar has gotten stronger, but this change is unlikely to have any appreciable effect on the price of "European" ink (wtf even is that, HP, Xerox, et al -- ink is ink). Thanks for the investment tip, HP PR.

Nearly every major printer manufacturer is in on the scam. HP saw an opportunity to increase incremental sales and staked out this territory in 2004. This brave new world of customer-screwing was followed by Lexmark, Canon, Epson and Xerox -- none of which saw anything wrong with illogically restricting ink cartridges to certain regions.

Region coding for DVDs and videogames makes a certain amount of sense, provided you're willing to make a small logic buy-in on windowed releases. But ink? It's not like Australians need to wait six weeks for HP to cut loose ink cartridges so as not to sabotage the US release. The only reason to do this is to tie paying customers into the most expensive ink and toner. This lock-in is cemented by many printers' refusal to recognize third-party replacement cartridges and/or allow refills of existing manufacturer cartridges.

The excuses made for this mercenary behavior would be hilarious if they weren't so transparently dismissive of customers. Every flowery ode to customers' best interests by PR flacks boils down to nothing more than, "Fuck 'em. It's not like they have a choice."


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  • icon
    Rabbit80 (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:01am

    It is worth noting that whilst inks and toners shouldn't ever need to be region locked, there are some consumables such as fuser kits that are region specific - simply because the parts in them run at different voltages (in the case of a fuser, it will have a halogen lamp within it that needs the correct mains voltage)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      That is still not a good reason for region locks which I'm guessing cost money to implement and therefore add to the overall cost of the product - for no apparent benefit other than the corporation makes more profit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 11:00am

      Re:

      It's also worth noting that parts with different voltage requirements should also have a different part number.

      Not trying to be snarky with that comment, but in terms of safety, using parts with different voltage requirements should not even "seem" like an option.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Modern equipment can cope with multiple voltages - and often comes with special plugs that allow you to reconfigure for different socket types!

        The voltage thing ceased to be an issue 20 years ago,

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The voltage thing ceased to be an issue 20 years ago"

          Believe me it's still very real today.

          As an example if the fuser is driven from the mains voltage (because running from DC would be inefficient for a heating element) then it will be voltage dependent.

          Yes switchmode DC supplies are great but variable input voltage types are not always that efficient or even possible for high current applications.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 1:00am

      Re:

      False. There may be genuine reasons why I wish to operate a device that comes from a place with a different electrical output. As a consumer, I should be able to make that choice.

      If confusion or accidental supply of the wrong part is your concern, there are ways to differential the components, from suing different names/part numbers of manufacturing them in such a way that a part from one region literally won't fit into a printer from a different region.

      But, leave the region locking bullshit out of it. That's only ever used for one real purpose - forcing people to buy a higher-priced local version rather than being able to shop around.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Agonistes (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:39am

    I heard on the street that you can make the cartridges last a lot longer by mixing baking soda and a small bit of water and then let the toner slurry evaporate spread in a film on your paper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:49am

    Aren't these kinds of things what consumer protection laws are for? This is absolutely absurd. Restrictions for Profit should be goddamn illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:01am

    I wonder how long it'll be before some assclown invents region locked medience that'll only work on certain blood types.

    ...not to give them any ideas, of course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      Don't worry. When it comes to Pharma companies in particular, I'm sure that they already have a comprehensive list of every possible way that they can profit from evil and will hop on it the instant that technology allows.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:55am

      Re: Region Locks

      1) seeds
      2) insurance auto and medical
      3) e cigarettes
      4) cell phones (sort of already in place)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:03am

    This sounds like a trade issue...

    ... if only we had some sort of Trade Representative for the US and other countries who could pass treaties about not screwing their people with stupid trade restricting business practices.

    /sarc (...or not)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:09am

    Only bright spot to this

    Maybe it will encourage people to print less, thereby helping the environment, but hurting the logging and paper processing industries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:51am

      Re: Only bright spot to this

      They're doing this precisely because people are printing less. It's like newspapers filling their pages with ads because circulation is down -- driving away their last customers. Devaluing your long-term viability in hopes of a short-term cash grab is the last gasp of a fading market. They literally can't think of anything else.

      House on fire? Here, try this flamethrower.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:23am

    This is a bug, not a feature. Instead of paying to have your printer reauthorized to print, you should get a full refund because you received a(n intentionally) broken product.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:25am

    No, No, No.

    Regional ink markets just make good sense.

    Ink sold in Iowa, for instance, can be sold as 'corn-based'. Markup: 25%.

    Ink sold in Nebraska can be sold as 'pigshit-based'. Markup: 32%.

    Ink sold in India can be backfilled with mercury and other cost-effective fillers and sold as 'Murican!' Markup: 13%.

    Zip code based micro-regions are important in areas like Washington, D.C. Ink destined for the DOJ requires the thick 'Redacto-Blend'. Markup: 325%, while ink going to Congress requires the much thinner 'printed-on-a-tissue-of-lies' blend. Markup: 600%.

    Yes, ink markets are important, not only for specific customer needs, or "customer needs hahahaha", but for the much more relevant 'where-are-we-going-to-get-the-money-for-our-Caribbean-conferences' requirements.

    Ink: because the world runs on chumps not knowing any better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PRMan, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:41am

    Generic

    I have an HP color laser and just put generic toner in it. The driver complains, but it still prints just fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Haywood (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:43am

    I'll find a way

    I've given up on inkjets, just too much bother. I'm all about B&W laser at the moment. i just take my colored printing to my discount club and use their setup. Cheaper and better in the long run. I did try the giant ink tanks mounted outside of the inkjet, and that worked surprisingly well. What I have not considered is bending over for the printer overlords.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:08pm

      Re: I'll find a way

      This! This is great advice for nearly anyone. It's still possible to be screwed by expensive consumer toner, but it's not hard to shop around for a brand that prints things affordably. YMMV whether it's better to print color at home or elsewhere.

      My partner is currently studying her masters, and we print more than a thousand pages a year, much of it double-sided. Toner is the only thing keeping that even vaguely feasible. Not to mention printing faster and quieter than inkjets.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:03am

        Re: Re: I'll find a way

        You mean laser printers make no sound at all? Because the inkjet printer I purchased in 2010 only had an audible hum whilst doing its thing, most unlike the screeching chatterboxes I used to use in school.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:43am

    Ah, the old "serve the customer better by limiting their options," as seen everywhere DRM/DRM-esque restrictions are applied.
    FTFY, Tim. After all, sex and gender aren't binary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:47am

      Re:

      So you use a plural? No. If there is someone not covered by his/her, so be it; we don't need to change our language so they feel included.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re:

        If there is someone not covered by his/her, so be it ...

        Yup, "him/her/it" should cover everyone. Maybe "h*2/it" (or "h2it" for the new milennium).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, the language was changed to use him/her. Before that, singular they was perfectly acceptable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Archsys, 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Their is third-person singular, modern usage, not just a plural.

        Seriously, your comment reads akin to "They aren't hackers... they don't assemble furniture at all!"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Zoe Brain, 20 Aug 2015 @ 11:55pm

        Re: Re:

        If there is someone not covered by his/her, so be it; we don't need to change our language so they feel included.
        Said by someone who is neither genderfluid nor intersex (out of the many examples), and thus needs to check their fucking privilege. Everyone has the right to be included, chump, even you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 6:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Said by someone who is neither genderfluid nor intersex ...

          This is how you lose credibility even with those ostensibly on your side. WTF do those words even mean? It sounds like you're talking about shapeshifters and green skinned aliens.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 10:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And here's someone who claims an intersex woman is "losing credibility" because it's an even toss-up over whether they're too stupid or too lazy to right click unfamiliar words. Who's losing credibility, idiot?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 11:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Genderfluid: able to change gender by the power of your mind - usually using biofeedback techniques.

              Intersex: The mathematical method of intersection between male and female genetics.

              Since gender is determined by a select number of genes on the Y chromosome (unless specific genetic damage has caused those specific genes to migrate to the X chromosome in the XY pair of the father), I would suggest that those who are genderfluid are abnormal specimens since they have the ability to change their genetic makeup dynamically and may not actually be human at all. If they aren't human then there are two possiblilities: either they are not from this planet or have been constructed in a laboratory somewhere (most likely military).






















              Let's see how long it takes for the fools to not see the sarcasm in the above.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2015 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No one has a right to feel included. That's moronic. It infringes on others rights to speak how and what they choose.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:50am

    Well, I don't think they can restrict ink for printer with ink tanks. So yeah, I went for those in my latest purchase and it's working wonders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:23pm

      Re:

      Well, I don't think they can restrict ink for printer with ink tanks. So yeah, I went for those in my latest purchase and it's working wonders.

      What type is it? I would love to have an easily refillable printer. I stopped buying ink cartridges several years ago. I was spending $60 to buy them locally and only getting about 70% of the estimated output.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Atkray (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:10pm

        Epson has ECO tank printers

        Epson has released a line of printers with massive tanks where you actually pay for the printer up front instead of getting it cheap and paying for expensive ink until the end of time.
        They are spendy but.....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:58am

    ...the price of "European" ink (wtf even is that, HP, Xerox, et al -- ink is ink).
    European ink skips printing text related to things best forgotten, and appends the parenthetical expression "(Don't forget to sue Google!)" to all documents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Osama, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:59am

    They're Killing The Free Press

    I love printing at home because it's like a mini press. But now they're trying to take away the low cost way of @ home printing. Keurig did the same thing with their coffee cups and their sales plummeted. I will not support this sales practice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:23am

    Xerox, eh? That's kind of sad. For decades, their name was essentially synonymous with "making high-quality copies"... and now they've been seduced by the dark side and are abusing anti-copying technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:37am

    This is the sort of thing that gives capitalism a bad name

    ...which is not entirely fair, as people can be asshats in any system, and eventually the market does "reward" such people in the same way that they "serve" the customer.

    But those wheels of karma can turn slow.

    The solution of course is to buy somebody else's printers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      KenobiMcCormick, 21 Aug 2015 @ 1:56am

      Re: This is the sort of thing that gives capitalism a bad name

      That's not an option. You can't just 'buy someone else's printer' when the entire industry is doing the same shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 11:35am

    Good News...I think

    Have you heard of the new printers from Epson? It seems that the market may be working. Since enough customers are now in on the scam, one OEM is launching a printer that promises to screw you less!

    The Epson Eco Tank printers will sell at a higher initial price, which one hopes is profitable for Epson, and in return (ostensibly) will have much more affordable ink.

    Epson claims the ink tanks will hold 20 times the quantity the normal cartridges hold, and will be cheaply refillable by just pouring in more ink from a bottle.

    Basically, it is a printer that eschews the "razor and blade" business model that we see in the above story by Tim, in favor of a more straightforward business model.

    But, let's see if reality matches marketing. The printers are set to sell in September.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 2:38pm

    Anyone know where I can buy some 93 octane, Grade A, organic, grass-fed ink and gluten-free paper? My printer is allergic to anything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:57pm

      Re:

      You might be out of luck on the gluten free paper if you're going to put grass fed ink on it (gluten grains come from genetically modified grasses).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 2:49pm

    I worked on an HP printer this week that had a setting that spun it as letting you "protect your own ink cartridges", as if ink cartridge thievery within your business is an epidemic.

    The screwed up thing is that setting was off when I found it, yet a replacement printer (refurbished, of course) still refused to use the ink cartridges from the one that the print head died in on the grounds of being "protected". So she was stuck with the puny starter cartridges that came with the refurbished replacement.

    Gee, thanks HP!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:16pm

      Re:

      And some things about Xerox in general. We have a Xerox printer here that is unbelievably slow at processing jobs, and it's normal. Also, every once in a while decides to choke on a print job and refuses to print anymore, and then subsequent jobs just stack up behind it. Going into the web interface and trying to delete the job results in a "denied" because it's in the "decomposing" stage. The fix? Power off and back on, right? Haha, no, silly! You have to do a wipe of the whole hard drive, which takes about 20 minutes. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:31pm

    Automobiles will be next

    Automobiles sold in the US cant be driven
    south of the border.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John David Galt (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:39pm

    While we're at it, why don't we stop the racket ...

    ... where we have to replace our perfectly good printers after one or two Windows updates, because the manufacturer doesn't want to bother updating his drivers any longer and won't release the code so someone else can do so!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:54pm

      Re: While we're at it, why don't we stop the racket ...

      ... and won't release the code so someone else can do so!

      You know that's why Stallman started Gnu? He wanted to add functionality to a printer driver but was refused the code to do so. I hope that printer driver writer's happy having complete control over his now long obsolete code.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:27pm

    Why has nobody created replacement firmware to remove this limitation? Is it that a user can't flash the firmware in a printer? There's replacement firmware for many models of DVD drives to remove region coding, so I would think it only natural that someone would create new firmware to remove a stupid restriction like this. Of course it would invalidate the warranty, but once the warranty expires you're good to go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:34pm

    Xerox service rates

    I don't know where you got that service rate, but this "US service rate sheet (PDF)" says the rate is:

    $416 for the first half hour
    $76 for each additional 15 minutes

    So I think it'll cost you $416 to get your printer unlocked. (New printer time.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Oh THAT Brian!, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:36pm

    This will stop when ...

    every person who buys one of these 'defective' printers also purchases an extended warranty. When a bad print cartridge bricks their printer, they will put the old 'genuine' cartridges back and return the printer to the store to be replaced. Eventually, the store will stop carrying the 'defective' printers and insist upon printers that don't care which country the ink comes from.

    I know several people who wait for inexpensive printers to go on sale at the big box stores. They will buy 2 or 3. WHen they run out of ink, they take the printer to be recycled (or better yet, take it to a charity for a tax deduction). They pull one of the 'extra' printers out of the box and start using it. If done properly, they have a new printer two or three times a year. And it STILL costs them less than buying full cartridges!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:44pm

    So a 10 year old story is news?

    How?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 10:23pm

      Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

      Cause it's still happening and only has gotten worse?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 1:32am

      Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

      The region-locked ink cartridges is old, the bricking of printers requiring a callout of an expensive technician is new. You'd have realised that if you'd read the entire article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 2:21am

        Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

        Close. Try reading the story again. The technician part is from 2013.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 2:52am

          Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

          I read it in its entirety the first time. Tim doesn't give a date for the forum post that actually references the bricked printers, and whilst he does follow the 2011 (not 2013) forum post with So, it appears that if you attempt to forcefeed a Xerox printer not-from-around-here ink, it will potentially brick the device. that followup cannot reasonably be extrapolated from the quoted forum post without further information being given by the OP.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 4:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

              Can't hover on a smartphone. Any more unimplementable 'solutions'?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 7:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                Get a computer,having a smartphone is no excuse for not understanding.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 8:13am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                  I guess the answer to my rhetorical question is a 'yes', then. You know, having a desktop or laptop computer is no excuse for not realising that not everyone has that option. Stupidity much?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    tqk (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 11:51am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                    You know, having a desktop or laptop computer is no excuse for not realising that not everyone has that option.

                    I suspect you can't win this one. I'll bet I could buy four fully loaded, obsolete for Windows(TM) but perfect for Linux, towers or pizza box or laptop computers for the price you paid for that smartphone, and even more if we consider the monthly payments to your provider. They wouldn't be gaming rigs, but they'd suffice otherwise.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 12:40pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                      Really? You can buy four desktops for $314? Yeah, right! Get real, dipwad.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        tqk (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 1:21pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                        Really? You can buy four desktops for $314? Yeah, right!

                        I paid C$80 for my second hand HP Pavilion g4 laptop (64 bit AMD A4-3300M, 4 GHz). Lemme do the math ... 3 Gb HD, 5 Gb RAM. It was about five years old when I bought it. I've seen newer (than that) pizza box PCs selling loaded second hand for ca. C$120.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 1:53pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                          Oh, I didn't know you were making an unfair comparison. Okay, I'll amend my original response: Really? You can buy four brand new desktops for $314? Yeah, right!

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            tqk (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:29pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                            You can buy four brand new desktops for $314?

                            What part of "obsolete for Windows(TM) but perfect for Linux" says "brand new" to you? Care to roll again?

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 6:03pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                              You didn't say which version of Windows. Given the fact that there are PCs built just two years ago and being sold new right now that will never be upgradeable to Windows 10. Then consider the fact that some people will say that their machine is 'obsolete' for a given OS just because they don't want it on there.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 2:10pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                      Additionally, my payments to EE are every six months, and are the equivalent of $31 every time. So your assumption led to hypocrisy, given that you pay around $45 to your ISP at the least (going off the articles on this site).

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 2:45pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                    Your fucked up logic combined with your anger is making you an unpleasant person to be around.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:19pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                      Please explain what about the provable facts I have presented is 'fucked up logic'? And I'm the angry one?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:47pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                        That you using a phone makes me stupid.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 5:56pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                          No, my using a phone doesn't make you stupid. Your not appreciating the fact that not everyone has instant access to certain platforms despite your apparent intelligence and ability to fully utilise it makes you stupid. So I guess that would be your 'fucked up logic' then, wouldn't it?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          techflaws (profile), 22 Aug 2015 @ 10:16pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

                          I'd say it makes you stupid to falsely complain about 10 year old news and then keep wasting time on this thread.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 3:18am

          Re: Re: Re: So a 10 year old story is news?

          So, not 10 years old?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dr evil, 20 Aug 2015 @ 5:50pm

    me 2

    I print so infrequently now that I do as friends of 'Oh THAT Brian!' do, buy a new cheap printer and dispose of it when its empty.

    If I owned a Xerox I would be requesting a refund before the unadvertised 'feature' bricks it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AC, 21 Aug 2015 @ 10:51am

    Cost Effective Alternatives

    At some point, possibly now, it will be cheaper and easier to kidnap printer company executives and process their corpses into printer ink, than it is to buy new ink cartridges for Staples.

    Better for humanity, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Printer technician perspective......., 21 Aug 2015 @ 4:43pm

    Holding manufacturers to a higher standard than they deserve

    QUOTE
    "The only reason to do this is to tie paying customers into the most expensive ink and toner."

    This is a gross over simplification - for example it ignores the losses these companies make from end users with toner inclusive contracts that sell their 'spare' toners on sites like eBay at inflated prices.

    As the price of printer hardware falls the cost of toner has to go up or there will be no incentive to stay in the industry. Office printers are a commodity product at this point..

    Companies like Microsoft can sell the hardware like the Xbox at a loss as they have other more lucrative revenue streams. Ricoh, Canon & Xerox - not so much.

    QUOTE
    "This lock-in is cemented by many printers' refusal to recognize third-party replacement cartridges and/or allow refills of existing manufacturer cartridges."

    Third party toner cartridges are not produced to the same level of quality as originals - even by the major companies themselves. This is not an industry myth, i've seen it many times. Most recently with Xerox brand 'HP Compatible' colour toners that were utter garbage. Switch back to HP originals - print quality improved and service calls instantly reduced.

    Like it or not printers are complex machines, they run better with quality parts inside. I could run my car on chip fat for a while but it won't do it much good - pretty sure it's illegal too. Running a printer on cheap 'off brand' toner is just asking for trouble.

    These companies are trying to make money, that's why they exist. They follow these practices to protect their profits, to limit the support call burden caused by inferior parts and to protect their customers from a bad user experience.

    Restricting toners is not a plot cooked up to rip off end users. Try buying legit toners from a legit reseller, you'll pay a little more - but you get support and will never end up spending cash on toners that are incompatible with your device.

    Or buy cheap - buy twice........ and have cause moan about it online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      observer, 21 Aug 2015 @ 7:40pm

      Re: Holding manufacturers to a higher standard than they deserve

      This doesn't seem to be about knock-offs, though, but about legit cartridges that happen to have been sold in a different country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 10:40pm

      Re: Holding manufacturers to a higher standard than they deserve

      it ignores the losses these companies make from end users with toner inclusive contracts that sell their 'spare' toners on sites like eBay at inflated prices.

      And why are they even able to do so in the first place? Hint, hint!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2015 @ 11:27pm

      Re: Holding manufacturers to a higher standard than they deserve

      The price of replacement ink. Hmmm. A one litre bottle (for a reseller) will cost a certain number of their children. However, by selling in 20 ml lots, they will actually increase the number of children they can support by a fairly large number.

      At one time, ink prices (to the consumer) made the commodity far more valuable than gold of the same weight. Printer companies will make the ink at a price point that will generate the profits they desire. Since the customer base is a captive market, they can charge what they want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 22 Aug 2015 @ 7:47am

      Re: Holding manufacturers to a higher standard than they deserve

      They follow these practices to protect their profits, to limit the support call burden caused by inferior parts, and to protect their customers from a bad user experience.
      Only the first part of that quote is in any way accurate. Why? Because cheap knock-off parts made in China equals 'quality' parts made in China with cheap knock-off components by unscrupulous factory owners seeking extra profits. That's why nothing lasts like it used to: outsourcing syndrome. If printer manufacturers really wanted to limit the support call burden caused by inferior parts and protect their customers from a bad user experience, they don't need to lock out unofficial components, they instead need to bring manufacturing to the place where the parts are being sold and give customers the quality they're paying for. Simples!
      BTW, running a car on cooking oil won't automatically wreck your engine nor is it illegal as long as all relevant taxes are paid. Care to try again?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Printer technician, 22 Aug 2015 @ 9:43am

    Follow up

    Region locking Toner is better for Xerox and that's the main reason it's done. We can all agree on that.

    You don't have to like it, and - guess what- you don't have to buy Xerox.

    What my post was trying to get at is there are more reasons to do it than purely to shaft end users.

    I'm a copier tech. All my customers lease machines with supply contracts that include legit toner. This issue will never affect them and they are the majority of Xerox's customers globally.

    If I buy a cheap Xerox printer with no contract they are looking to make money on supplies not the device. So they have to control the supply.

    I don't see why the author of this post and various commenters expect Xerox to make it easy for people to work around this.

    They COULD sell you a machine and let you run any parts you like- but they'd have to charge a higher price for the hardware. That means fewer sales, less market share and no control over quality or reliability.

    I can't imagine anyone at a Xerox board meeting suggesting that as a business model.


    Sheogorath - fair cop on the veg oil analogy it's legal I UK I didn't realise. Doesn't mean it'll convince me it's a better way to run my car though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 22 Aug 2015 @ 10:59am

      Re: Follow up

      I repeat: if printer manufacturers really wanted to limit the support call burden caused by inferior parts and protect their customers from a bad user experience, they don't need to lock out unofficial components, they instead need to bring manufacturing to the place where the parts are being sold and give customers the quality they're paying for. I'm basically saying that if printer manufacturers sold parts that were better and lasted longer than cheap tat from China, then people would use the better parts without having to be locked into doing so. But as long as the only differences between official parts and unofficial parts are price and logo...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Peter Griffiths, 23 Aug 2015 @ 6:18am

    Unfair Trading

    It is the criminal offence of Unfair Trading throughout the EU to withhold information which might change the decision of customers, or to give them false information. If your decision would have been changed if you knew that you could not buy cheaper 'compatible' ink, or that your machine would not work without German made ink, you may ask the authorities to prosecute the seller, and of course you may demand your money back, and try for compensation.
    To get action, of course, many people must complain to trading standards officers. An online petition might be the answer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 8:46am

      Re: Unfair Trading

      Very true, and since Xerox has withheld the information that using the 'wrong' ink cartridges in your printer has the potential to brick the machine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Printer technician, 23 Aug 2015 @ 10:44am

    So which models actually affected- just 2??

    Admittedly I can't read German, and original Url is paywalled. But this looks like it affects the 6605 and 6605 model xerox printers only.

    Anyone have and evidence of this affecting other models? Any facts?

    Seems to me that a factory reset and installation of approved toner would solve the problem if you had it. I get that this lock in is in some ways 'unfair'. But the assumption being repeated in this thread is that all toner is made the same - this is incorrect.

    The xeroxgraphic process used in laser/led printers generally uses 4 components - toner, imaging drum, transfer belt and fuser. If you put knock off toner with a different melting point in your printer it won't fuse the toner to the paper. If the particle density of the toner differs from that expected by imaging drum you'll get sucky image quality.

    Add to that all toner is either pre or post mixed with a 'developer' agent to give it static charge. If this differs from manufacture specs quality suffers.

    Given all that - the expectation that we should be able to use any toner with any printer is just wishful thinking.

    Xerox shouldn't region lock toners, it's a jerk move. They should make 2 types - contract only and non contract and they should work in any part of world. But in my opinion you should only expect to use a 6605 toner from Xerox in their machines. As a repair tech I don't want to have to face off with a customer who chose to cheap out on toner, has issues and now expects me to fix the damage at the cost of my time and parts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 5:41pm

      Re: So which models actually affected- just 2??

      Given all that - the expectation that we should be able to use any toner with any printer is just wishful thinking.


      I'm sure everyone would agree with that, but it's a strawman argument - nobody has that expectation.

      The point of this discussion is that people expect that Xerox official toner should work in Xerox printers, which isn't the case and is resulting in printers being disabled.

      Seems to me that a factory reset and installation of approved toner would solve the problem if you had it. I get that this lock in is in some ways 'unfair'.


      So... you can either pay a Xerox technician to come and fix your printer, or you can pay Xerox for more official toner - that hopefully won't disable your printer this time - and lose all of your printer settings and have to spend time reconfiguring it. I can't imagine why people would think this is 'unfair'.

      But in my opinion you should only expect to use a 6605 toner from Xerox in their machines. As a repair tech I don't want to have to face off with a customer who chose to cheap out on toner, has issues and now expects me to fix the damage at the cost of my time and parts.


      This is the generic medicine argument.

      People would like to be able to use third-party toner that is designed for their specific printer. If Xerox wanted to be awesome about it, they could release detailed specifications for the requirements for the toner for each of its printers, but let customers know that they'll be on the hook for any repairs from using third-party toner, and that there are no guarantees of quality when using third-party toner.

      Then let the market decide - if some brand of third-party toner is cheaper and has a reputation of just as good quality and not breaking the printer, then Xerox has incentive to try to do better. Crappy third-party knockoffs won't get repeat business after people have to pay to get their printers fixed.

      Thanks for your perspective, and I get that having to deal with other peoples' senses of entitlement sucks, but historically it has never been best business practice to tell your customers that they're using your product wrong. Put the business first and continue to be mediocre, or put the customer first and be awesome - that is (a vastly oversimplified version of) the choice in front of every business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    i don't bloody know, 23 Aug 2015 @ 1:39pm

    DRM

    I recently ran across an alternative meaning for DRM when reading an article about finaces in Africa: Domestic Resource Mobilization. In short, taxation. Now I'm confused, which meaning is worse?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 2:28pm

      Re: DRM

      In short, taxation. Now I'm confused, which meaning is worse?

      Ostensibly, taxation buys you services the gov't provides (police protection, legal protection, military defence, ...). The other kind of DRM protects (again ostensibly) the rights of others wrt stuff you legally own, which makes no sense to me. If I own it legally (the seller has been compensated and willingly relinquished ownership to me), why does someone else get to tell me how I can use it? Apparently, I don't own it. "May I have my money back please?" No, you already broke the shrink wrap.

      Now all you can do is boycott. "Fool me once, ..."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ink Cartridges, 11 Apr 2016 @ 10:41pm

    Action to solve..

    It's true and Xerox has withheld the information that using the 'wrong' ink cartridges in your printer has the potential to brick the machine. Though this doesn't seem to be about knock-offs, but about legit cartridges that happen to have been sold in a different country. Finally, to get action, many people must complain to trading standards officers. An online petition might be the answer in this situation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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