Printer ink blues

For JD 100 you can get yourself an excellent printer these days. Ink Jet printers that target consumers are today capable of stunning results. Whether you want to print reports with colored charts, invitations or your digital photos, today’s ink jet printers deliver sharp details and vibrant colors.

Then, suddenly the ink runs out and you find yourself going to the computer store to buy new ink cartridges.

As you pay over JD 20 per black and white or color cartridge you realize that the cheap printer was only a “hook”. Printer manufacturers make their profit on the ink and go to great lengths ensuring you are convinced that you should their brand name cartridges.

But, as I learned last week, the market is flooded with “alternatives” to buying the original ink. When I asked a computer shop salesperson for ink cartridges for my Epson printer, I was first offered a Chinese product for JD 6 a cartridge. From my experience and from what I heard from other people, one should never go for the cheap stuff when it comes to ink. There are so many stories about printers clogging up and being sent for expensive maintenance after using “fake” inks, wiping out the savings made on the cartridges.

So I insisted to buy the original Epson cartridges. Only after I left the store it dawned upon me that I only paid JD 13 per cartridge. I looked at the packages again and re-assured myself that they look original.

After installing the cartridges I started suspecting that I have been cheated into buying counterfeit cartridges. One of the cartridges was not accepted by the printer (although it physically installed correctly). On my computer I was able to check the cartridges’ manufacturer information, which simply said ‘unknown’. I checked Epson’s UK site and saw that a cartridge there costs 25 Pounds. A visit to Epson’s authorized dealer in Amman, confirmed my suspicions.

It’s one thing to consciously take the risk and buy off-brand ink. But being cheated with a counterfeit product is a totally different story.

Apparently the Jordanian market is flooded with counterfeit ink cartridges, and there is nothing the authorized dealers of the big printer companies (Epson, HP, Canon, etc) can do about it. Some of these dealers are themselves importing compatible ink cartridges (which they test before selling) as they try to regain some of their lost market share.

Another way to get cheaper ink is the practice of refilling. This is either done at a computer shop or using do-it-yourself kits. Again, this can be tricky, as using ink that does not match the specifications of the original manufacturer can lead to problems.

In any case, if you want stay safe, then prepare yourself to buy the expensive original ink cartridges, preferably from an authorized dealer who guarantees the product.

If your are more adventurous, trying compatible cartridges or refills might save you some money, but make sure you do some research and asking around before you go for it.

A good site on the subject can be found here.


One Response to “Printer ink blues”

  1. Niki Says:

    I bought some counterfeit cheap inkjet cartridges at the flea market one time. They weren’t good quality. I always use compatible ink cartridges now.

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