Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cheap Ink Cartridges - False Economy

Whether it is at home or in the office, many
people are seeking out cheaper ways to replace
the ink in their printer. One way they can do this
is to switch from using genuine or OEM
cartridges to 3rd party produced or compatible
cartridges but unfortunately many
manufacturers are making it increasingly difficult
either to use alternative cartridges in their
printers and for customers to refill their
Compatible cartridges or rather printer
manufacturer's efforts to quash the compatible
market are again making headlines. Recently HP
followed in Epson's footsteps when they were
granted a favourable ruling on patent
infringements as have Lexmark, who have also
released a statement on facebook justifying their
firmware updates relating to their 100 cartridges,
following a backlash on the social networking
site from angered customers.
So with large companies such as HP and Epson
going out of their way to aggressively follow-up
alleged patent infringements and Lexmark
updating their firmware specifically to prevent
customers installing 3rd Party produced in their
printers - why all the fuss about compatibles?
Well for the manufacturer's this is purely an
attempt to secure and protect the lucrative
printer consumables market. Home printers are
sold as loss leaders by all manufacturers and they
reclaim these losses though selling their ink
cartridges at an inflated cost, not by the suppliers
of the cartridges, but by the manufacturers
themselves. The margins for genuine ink
cartridge products are minimal in and most cases,
less than 20%. This also allows the printer
manufacturers to sell their cartridges on their
own site cheaper than any other retailer could
hope to sell them elsewhere. So this allows the
manufacturers to raise their profits even higher,
literally getting as much as they can from the
So most although people are under the belief that
because compatible cartridges are cheap, they
will be compromising on quality this is not
necessarily the case. If you consider instead that
3rd party produced compatibles only appear
cheap when compared to the over inflated costs
of the printer manufacturer's cartridges and not
because they are a cheap copy of the original. The
compatibles market has sprung up because of the
wide gap left between the actual manufacturing
costs of the cartridges and the costs that the
manufacturers sell their cartridges at. 3rd party
companies can therefore produce cartridges and
sell them at a much lower price and still make a
reasonable profit. Of course if you are purely
motivated by only purchasing the cheapest
possible cartridge you can find, you may find
that, rather like cheap dustbin bags, this is just a
false economy. Of course if you are purely
motivated by only purchasing the cheapest
possible cartridge, you may find that rather like
cheap dustbin bags, this is just a false economy.
If you do a little research you should be able to
find compatibles will suit your needs, many
online retailers will offer a range of compatibles
so there should becheap ink cartridges to suit
you and if you're unsure, buy one basic set and
see how you get on - there'll be minimal costs
involved but potentially a whole lot of savings!