Skip to content

Printer Ink Rip Off

I recently had to update my home printer.
The first one was a disaster from Best Buy. I bought it in August and they NEVER had hte ink cartridges in stock – even by November. Appalling. I finally went in to complain to the manager and got him to take it back. The printer was exclusive to Best Buy so they werer the only ones who could have the cartridges. Amazingly I didn’t find that out until I returned it and AFTER the staff had sent me on a wild goose chase to many other office supply stores and Best Buys on two continents and 3 countries. They eventually told me to refill the ink cartridge. Now this is one of those smart ink cartridges that the newer printers have which cause you to have to click through four messages for every print command because they embed a chip in the cartridge and disable your PC’s ability to sense the toner levels. And these chips make it impossible for there to be a thrid party market.
Crap – that’s really awful. What law makes it unlawful to refill your cartridge and what gives them the right to mess with MY PC? It’s the digital equivalent of Ink DRM! And have you seen how many different cartridge [standards] varieties there are? Of course, since these printer manufacturers charge up to $8,000.00 per gallon for printer ink, you can see their motivation! People scream about gasoline prices! And people pay way more for bottled water than they do for gas and are starting to scream about that (why pay for something that should be free and trustable out of the tap? Especially since most bottled water is tap water – eg. Coke’s Dasani or Pepsi’s Aquafina). And to hear that printers lie that your ink is low when it is not . . .
Anyway, why aren’t we demanding this rip off end?
Why aren’t there ink usury laws?
Read this post for more.
Anyway, my new printer is better and I really love the photocopy feature.

Posted on: December 21, 2007, 9:13 am Category: Uncategorized

7 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. But you’re not telling us what you purchased!
    Other than a little noise, I’m delighted with my relatively new Canon all-in-one (my old Epson’s scanner died)–and, for a change, there are standardized cost-per-page numbers, thanks to a new (ISO?) standard. [In this case, 2.8 cents per page for typical 5%-coverage b&w printing 8 cents for business-document color.] There’s no question that some inkjet printers have extremely high cost-per-page.
    As for water: Well, we were buying bottled stuff for drinking because they use chloramine here and it messes up the taste (and won’t settle out in the fridge). But now we’re buying reverse-osmosis purified water at a local outlet: $0.25 a gallon, which is a little cheaper than gasoline. (And doesn’t yield dozens and dozens of plastic bottles for recycling…)

  2. Walt:
    I bought an HP Photosmart C4180 All-in-One. Work pays for the B&W ink. I buy the colour cartridges since my daugter needs them for her university courses. I am happy with the new one. I buy cheap since I find they don’t last well – this one was $119.00 CDN. We recycle the cartridges at the local store.
    We also try to print nearly everything at fast draft. It fine for reading and a lot faster and uses a lot less ink. I haven’t found the place to reset the factory default from perfect (lots of ink) printing yet but I am looking.
    My brother uses filters for his water to improve the taste (He’s on an aquifer north of the city) and it’s cheaper than buying it. I agree that these water bottles are an environmental and litter menace. I also don’t like the stories about cancer causing leaching agents. Yuck.
    As long as you don’t have to drive far to pick up your water and they’re not truacking it a long distance, your plan is probably decently environmental.
    But who am I to talk? I may not drive but I take a lot of planes. Then again I do plane-pool. (grin)

  3. I came to the conclusion some time ago that there is an inverse relationship between the price of the printer and the cost of the ink. Cheap printers use expensive ink. That is why the last two libraries I have been at have moved from cheap ink jet printers for each PC to networked laser printers. When you do the “total cost of ownership” (TCO) calculation, the investment in the more expensive machine is worth it especially in a library setting.

  4. I came to the decision some time ago that there is an inverse relationship between the price of the printer and the cost of the ink. Cheap printers use valuable ink. That is why the last two libraries I have been at have moved from cheap ink jet printers for each PC to communicated laser printers.

  5. John Pinkston said

    I have managed to find some cheap printers that also took cheap ink cartridges, but they turned out to be a waste of money. They just didn’t last long at all. The last one I got was a Lexmark from Walmart. The ink was pretty cheap compared to HP and some other printers for example. The thing was just junk. I was a little disappointed because I bought a similar model previously that lasted several years before I had problems.
    I think I might just look into laser printers. For now I am going with a couple HP Photosmart printers at home. I have the C4280- I got it on sale from Office Depot. I just buy the combo packs at Staples or some place like that. i have found some interesting deals, like one that had the larger capacity black and color bundled with photo paper. It cost less than buying the regular cartridges separately, and the paper was selling for $10 alone.
    It certainly is interesting how much ink costs per gallon. The manufacturer will make their money one way or the other. The alternative would probably mean much more expensive printers and people who do light printing would get ripped off that way.
    The part about the chips and disabling 3rd party inks- I agree that is awful.

  6. John Pinkston said

    Hi. I think you removed the link from my name. I am sorry if that was not allowed. Judging from the post above me where the commenter did not even post a unique comment but linked their name to a printer ink website, I figured mine would be OK. Apologies.

  7. Michael L said

    I have found that cheap printers have smaller cartridges which cost nearly the same as a large cartridge in a more expensive industrial printer.
    This is taken to a ridiculous degree with laser printers. The cheap and small brother laser printer comes with a 700 page “starter” toner (a f**king joke if you ask me), and a full one is 1600 pages.
    In contrast, my current SAMSUNG laser printer has an 8000 page toner. I bought my cartridge for a US dollar equivalent of 45 dollars. That means that each of the smaller BROTHER cartridges would have to cost 8 dollars to create a similar value. Of course that is by far not the case.
    Marketing degrees should be held in hell, not at universities.