Money: Your shout: Letters: Chip and spin ... how they make us pay
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The solution is to buy generic inkjet cartridges on eBay. (Invisible Ink,
23 February). For my printer (Epson) manufacturer's cartridges cost about pounds 10; generics less than pounds 1.
BettyWindsor at guardian.co.uk/money
* The problem is the "chip" arms race. Printers now have chips which the generic, or compatible, manufacturers don't make yet. They need some time to crack the chip and the volume of sales to make it worthwhile. If you plan to move to generics, always avoid HP. It builds part of the print head into the cartridge so even the "re-manufactured" ones are expensive.
leadballoon at guardian.co.uk/money
* The shocking thing is that it is almost cheaper to buy another colour laser printer than to replace the toners. What a waste, more landfill.
mabrow at guardian.co.uk/money
* On my HP inkjet printer, the longer-lasting XL cartridges now contain substantially less ink than the previous set I bought for that printer, but the price has increased.
AlanAudio at guardian.co.uk/money
* The "lovely" people at Epson update their software regularly so that newer generics are rejected. Its printers also stop working without a full set of cartridges eg, you cannot print in black if one of the colours is empty. Cartridges are identified as empty when there is clearly ink present.
No wonder the rightwingers don't want the "red tape" of consumer protection - how would they make super profits otherwise.
AndreNZ at guardian.co.uk/money
* I'm not sure why Trading Standards or the OFT has never done anything about this. They're exhibiting the sort of behaviour that's quite clearly not allowed in other areas - imagine if car manufacturers pulled the same stunts with petrol or tyres or spare parts (although they've tried it to some extent with engine diagnostic computers).
Epson, HP, Canon et al, need to be slapped into last week and publicly shamed. Massive fines and stringent new consumer protection laws.
Also, get yourself a laser printer. Mine was working with the cut-sized, bundled cartridge until a few weeks ago, about two years after I'd bought it.
bluestone at guardian.co.uk/money
* Why no mention of CISS (continuous ink systems) It replaces the cartridges with new heads which have pipes that run to refillable ink tanks. Easy to install and extraordinarily cheap. I've had a Canon printer with CISS for three years with no problems.
ChrisKnibbs at guardian.co.uk/money
* The article said: "Others have embedded technology to block cheap refills. The logic is simple. Once a consumer buys an HP printer they have to buy HP cartridges, no matter what they cost." No they don't. It is illegal in the EU to block refilling or replacement cartridges from other sources. For instance, my HP colour laser has a setting that stops it from automatically quitting when it thinks the cartridge has run out. It doesn't advertise it but, by law, it must exist. I spent 23 years working for Xerox. In many cases, especially with laser printers such as my own, the "startup" cartridge is exactly the same as the regular cartridge, but is programmed to claim to be empty after 600 prints instead of 2,000. Disable the auto-quit setting and it prints for just as long as the "full-size" replacement.
Elder1 at guardian.co.uk/money
* Why do people still buy them you ask Having worked a decent amount of time at my local Staples (in the United States) and having been the top seller of all things electronic, I could wager a guess or three.
First, printer marketers know what they are doing. The buy-in cost of inkjets is drastically lower for colour models versus colour laser models. The cheapest colour laser we ever had on sale was $200 dollars, regular $300. I could never get customers to buy this one even if I gave a variety of reasons why they should. Part of my "spiel" was to explain, in a very basic way, the core difference between a laser and inkjet. The reality of ink delivery and how the ink versus toner works, is core to understanding why a laser is always a better buy. Not only that, the striking reality is that cheap inkjets are literally made not to last, which any customer is eager to agree with, but it wasn't enough to convince most.
This led me to my second point. People are cheap. Incredibly cheap.
I suppose our culture just doesn't have the mentality of "investing" in products. The funniest part is most people would pick up a black cartridge with their inkjet because, well, it was our job to pair some ink with every printer (I was a salesman, after all) and the cost of one black plus the inkjet got strikingly close to a base laser whose starter cartridge would have lasted them way, way longer. But that didn't really make people care, either.
Laser printers output better-quality prints (for black and white, at least) faster, more reliably, and more professionally.
A confluence of ignorance, an unwillingness to learn, striving to "get a deal", and simply wanting what is familiar, led almost every customer I ever worked with into an inefficient money-sink of an inkjet.
It saddens me to this day, and is one of the reasons I can't bring myself to work in that area again. People just don't want you to help them sometimes, no matter how hard you try.
itkovian at reddit.com
* I can't recommend my Brother all-in-one wireless printer highly enough. I bought the DCP J315W a couple of years ago and it's proved to be as good as its reviews. The original manufacturer's cartridges last for ages and you can find a set of four on eBay for around pounds 12. I've owned printers from all the major brands and this one wins by a country mile.
Ralph Jones, Rochester, Kent
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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