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The Almighty Buck

HP Must Defend Half-Empty "Economy" Ink Cartridges 625

Posted by timothy
from the false-economy-that-is dept.
An Anonymous Coward excerpts this short Detroit News story, which begins "PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Hewlett-Packard Co. must defend the sale of half-full ink cartridges with its printers after a Minnesota appellate court reinstated a lawsuit against the world's largest maker of printers. Three Minnesota women claim that the company doesn't reveal that the 'economy cartridges' installed on new printers are only half full of ink." The cost of refills is why I've given up on inkjet printers entirely (for now) -- guess which division of HP made more money than the other four combined?
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HP Must Defend Half-Empty "Economy" Ink Cartridges

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  • by ringbarer (545020) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:22PM (#3602458) Homepage Journal
    99% of the stuff you're printing is going to be black and white anyway, so why not fork out the extra $100 or so and get a budget laserprinter? Considering ink cartridges cost, what, about $50 these days anyway, you'll find the laser option more affordable in the long run.
    • by bravehamster (44836) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:30PM (#3602531) Homepage Journal
      Actually, about 60% of the stuff I print is in color, i.e. my digital photos. Altered, of course, to show my fabulous vacation with Heidi Klum. You can see my need for full vibrant colors.

      • Me too, digital camera and colour printer and you can go from taking the picture to an A4 size photo in 5-10 minutes. Killer app.

        I have an HP printer, I try to refill cartridges (buy, refill once) but it gets to the stage where you wonder if its not better to spend £30 than hours pissing around with syringes and priming the cartridges etc..

        ::Email honeypot:: [mailto]
        • by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @01:07PM (#3602820) Journal
          My nearly perfect sequence for a worry-free refill on an HP cartridge for an 800 series printer.

          1. Act immediately - When it's running out of ink, you have better luck refilling it before the ink dries in the nozzles
          2. Use only the suggested amount of ink recommended by the refill kit. Don't top-off and suck back a bit of ink to make a cartridge full.
          3. When done, squeeze sides slightly while closing off fill hole. Another reason why you don't fill to the brim.
          4. Let the printhead fully sit on blotting paper for 5-10 minutes (prop up cartridge with some loose change)
          5. Carefully wipe clean the printhead and insert in printer. Do full print tests, cleaning, and alignment.

          I say 'nearly-perfect' because I found that sometimes, I needed to do a little more blotting before everything is perfect.
      • Heidi Klum might sue Slashdot forcing them to guarantee that you won't mention fake pictures of your vacation with her.
    • When I bought my computer it came with a free inkjet printer. Now I feel locked in to the technology. Plus it's the only way for the home user to get color printing. I do appreciate the new Epson with individual color tanks. That at least is a step in the right direction.
    • by eyeball (17206) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:33PM (#3602557) Journal
      99% of the stuff you're printing is going to be black and white anyway, so why not...

      Wow, how did you know exactly how much I print on black and white and how much I print in color? Wait, are you spying on me? Oh, I know, you must be Bill Gates, since Windows must be monitoring how much color data gets sent to my printer port so they can sell that marketing data to vendors like HP.

      Seriously, I always said "Oh, I'll never print anything out in color," then I actually got an inkjet printer, and now at least 50% of the pages I print are in color. They aren't just pages with color I could turn off and do without, either. I print things like maps, signs, photos (granted not archival quality, but good enough to send pics of my cats to family members), etc..

    • In addition, the quality fo a laserprinter, even a cheap one, is much better than even a good inkjet. The wet ink thing just doesn't look professional at all. After it dries, ti can smear, bunch up the paper, etc. And the resolution still isn't nearly as good as a laser. I got an Okidata 400e LED printer (similar technology to laser printers) years ago, and I love it. Toner also goes a hell of a lot further than ink for the same price.
      • Yes, the quality is better with an inkjet. However, one thing to keep in mind is that most people don't care. I certainly don't. I print stuff out only for temporary use, then throw it out. Why they heck should I care if the text isn't razor sharp? It's still pretty darn nice looking.
        • > Why they heck should I care if the text isn't razor sharp?

          Because touching it with ungloved fingers will inevitably smudge it. Smuding is the biggest drawback of inkjets after cost. Inkjets really only make sense for applications that laser printers are not (economically) suitable for, which is pretty much only color printing. Given decent quality $250 lasers and $100 inkjets, there's little excuse not to have both, using each for its particular strengths.
    • Actually, you can pick up a Samsung laser printer for around $170 (less on sale). Samsung has linux support for them also, and they print pretty decent quality also. Awhile back, Amazon.com had it for $150 with free shipping, and there was a mail in coupon for a free extra toner.

      As far as color goes, I had a big dye sublimation printer that I picked up for $60. Printed photo quality on 8.5x11 paper. If you do some looking on ebay, you can find one of those for next to nothing. Although, I'm not sure how much the refills cost since mine came with 3 rolls. Even getting an inkjet for doing color might not be so bad since most people rarely print color.

      But printing black and white on an inkjet is definitely not cheap.
      • by scott1853 (194884) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:55PM (#3602730)
        Samsung? NO! We got one at the office.

        It's manual feed tray is left aligned and then everything that you try to print on paper smaller than 8.5x11 will try to be centered where it would be on regular letter sized paper.

        Also, in the time it takes it to warm up, I can send a print job to the HP downstairs and walk down and get it before the Samsung has even started.

        You don't want these things next to you when you're talking on the phone either. Imagine the volume level of a dot matrix without the rat-a-tat-tat but with a continuous humming.

        Just my personal experience though.
    • The ability to print nice color CDROM labels, plus the ability to print photos on demand, makes an inkjet the only way to go for me.
      Yes, it costs $40 or so for a pair of new cartridges for my Epson. But I only ever bought one pair, then I refill them. It takes about 10 minutes and costs about $3 to fill both of them.
    • maps, pictures, and birthday cards (I maky my own as it adds that extra personal touch).

      Color adds a lot to printed documents and can help a long ways to making printed text more relaxing to read.

      Anyways, keep your grey world if you want. I appreciate color in mine.
      • > I maky my own as it adds that extra personal touch

        No kidding there. Every time I get cards from the likes of you that leave that "personal touch" of ink smudge on my fingers, I appreciate color that much more.
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Funny)

    by delphin42 (556929) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:22PM (#3602459) Homepage
    I've been buying half empty bags of chips for years. All they need is a label stating that the cartridges are packaged by weight, not volume!
    • All they need is a label stating that the cartridges are packaged by weight, not volume!

      Volume would work too. I.e., one-half the volume of this ink cartridge.
    • They should just put a big wad of cotton at the top of the ink cartridge -- works for aspirin and now the package is "full".
    • And behold as patents for denser inks that still work in an inkjet proliferate.
  • by kpansky (577361) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:22PM (#3602463)
    Cost of new black ink cartridge for my printer: $40

    Cost of laser printer with toner on eBay: $50

    Maybe they should just sell disposable printers instead.
    • Shipping cost of laser printer with toner on eBay: $75
    • Maybe they should just sell disposable printers instead.
      No, I think the next step will be free printers and ink cartridges, but a large Doubleclick ad is printed in the middle of each document.
    • Not as funny as you may think; I actually found a printer the other day that was on sale for cheaper than the two ink cartridges that came packaged in it (about $32 for the printer, I think, it was an Apollo (hp)). Since I had bought one of the printers for my mom (she prints something like 50 pages a year), I thought about buying one just to get the spare cartridges out of the box.
      • I have one of those printers. Bought it because it was cheaper then an ink cartridge for my lexmark, and cheaper then having kinko's print addresses on 100 envelopes. Used it 'till it was out of ink, and now it sits in a box. Some day I'll throw it out. Oh well.

        (It was $29 right before christmas, cable included)
  • Ok, so this means I can sue all the dealerships who've sold me cars over the years because the gas tank wasn't full when I bought them? Cool!

    I did wonder why I could never find that HP cartridge number when I went to replace it the first time, just different cart which would replace it. Seems to me, we all got what we paid for, even if we think we should have got full cartridges. I see no deceit, to be honest, even if I think it smells like the fresh dead skunk on Highway 17 this morning.

  • When I used to have a laser I would print out like a maniac. Whenever I wanted to read something. But ever since Ink Jets began to cost so much I have kicked the habit of printing. These I usually read everything on the computer and only print when absolutely necessary.

    So the good part of this message is less dead trees. Of course now my hard disks are the mess (oodles and oodles of files)
  • Becuase refilts are so much cheaper it always made me think the cost was in the catridge ... not the ink.

    Which gives the question : How must did they actually save from each printer ?
  • by SpamJunkie (557825) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:25PM (#3602481)
    guess which division of HP made more money than the other four combined?

    Compaq?
  • Pessimists (Score:5, Funny)

    by finny (107762) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:26PM (#3602493)
    See, some people only see the negative. I see the ink cartritge as half full.
  • by BagOBones (574735) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:26PM (#3602497)
    If you look at the cart. it lists the amount of ink.. in Canada it is marked in ml. If you have one of the Office class printers the black cartrige costs about $50 and contain about 40ml of ink If you hav one of the cheap sub $100 printers it still costs about $50 for the cart but it only contains about 20ml of ink.. Its clearly marked on the cart and on the box.. I ALWAYS check how much ink is in the cart before deciding on wich printer I get. By the way the Canon BCI-21 Black contains only about 5 - 10 ml of ink.
  • by Skevin (16048) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:27PM (#3602506) Journal
    HP Must Defend Half-Empty "Economy" Ink Cartidges

    Apparently. These "cartidges" also seem to have half as many R's.
  • Throw-away printers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wiseazz (267052)
    I saw a new Lexmark printer on sale the other day for just over 50 bucks. With some ink refills running in the $30 range, it almost seems feasable to eventually have use-once, throw-away (recycle!) printers... much like those cardboard cameras.
  • Geez, vote with your dollars! If you don't like the fact that you get a crappy product (in this case half empty ink cartridges) then go buy something else.
    • doesn't help much after you've been ripped off.
      I'm not saying they were or were not ripped of in this case, I'd have to see the box the printer comes in, but in a lot of cases its too late too spend money on something else, because you've already spent the money.
  • Back in the day of the Laserjet II, we had a joke around my job that HP was just a toner company, with very fancy toner delivery packaging - printers.

    It's just a heck of a lot more noticable now, you're paying $60 and $40 instead of $3000 and $200 (plus $ungodly when you need to replace the other parts). With the inkjet, you get a new head every time, and that's the part that gums up and goes bad.

    Perhaps somebody has some price-per-page figures, that I'd like to see. I suspect that even with the exorbitant replacement cost of the heads, it should still come out really cheap per page.
  • This idea is, or was at one point, common in the food industry as well. They maintain the same size of packaging, yet futz with the amount of food inside it (usually reducing it some small amount) so you're essentially paying the same price for less.

    Of course they never label it as "economy", they would just sneak it in without telling anyone.

    It ends up being a backhanded way of raising prices. In HP's situation it seems more like a way to motivate people into buying the real profit makers sooner, but it all borrows from the same mode of thinking. Wish the story or court case was further along, be interesting to see what the eventual conclusion is because I doubt the finding would apply to only HP.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:32PM (#3602550) Homepage
    Every month I end up having to head over to Staples and plop down nearly 100 bucks for a black & white and color cartridges. My fiancé goes through them fast on our HP 970cse ($299 when I bought it) making stupid cards for her friends. Of course she has to use high quality mode so the ink is thick on the paper. We have had our ink jet now for about two years and in that time, I probably could have bought one of HP's nice Color LaserJet printer for the price of those cartridges.

    The whole ink jet printer industry reminds me of the razor/blade industry. They sell you the printer cheap, then screw you hard for the inks making sure you run out fast on the first set of cartridges just like the razor folks only give you one or two "starter" blades. But then again, Carly didn't put a gun to my head and forced me to buy the printer. It works well but is expensive to operate in the long run.

    • Every month I end up having to head over to Staples and plop down nearly 100 bucks for a black & white and color cartridges. My fiancée goes through them fast on our HP 970cse ($299 when I bought it) making stupid cards for her friends.

      May I suggest asking *her* to buy the next batch of paper and ink, since she's apparently using far more of it than you are?

      You could do it politely, explaining you're short on cash without directly mentioning the reason why. Or just explain that it's "her turn" to buy the replacables. Then ask her to stop using high-quality mode, whenever it's at all possible.
      • May I suggest asking *her* to buy the next batch of paper and ink, since she's apparently using far more of it than you are?

        I assume you have never been married. Once they get the diamond on the finger, they own your bank account. So it doesn't matter if she buys it or I do, I still will pay for it in the end. Plus $100 is a cheaper than a marriage counselor.

    • Um, so go buy a color laser. I did.

      QMS was running a sale on their MagiColor 2 DeskLaser printer, and I picked one up for about 800 bucks. I print a fair amount, but haven't yet had to replace any of the consumables. (And when I do, they are reasonably priced)

      I have only been able to get windows to print to this printer, but it is a network printer and I have figured out how to send spool files (created on windows) to it via Linux. If that's not sufficient, the control board can be replaced with a MagiColor 2 CX board or something so that the printer will support postscript and work just fine with any OS. A duplex option is also available.

      I have seen this printer sell new from some places as low as 500 dollars. Color laser is fully within the reach of home users. Go buy it!

      Though I will admit that thermal transfer or inkjet can produce better looking "photo" prints .. if you intend to frame them or something... but the cost per page for doing that kind of work with an entry level inkjet is very reasonable.

      ~GoRK
    • I probably could have bought one of HP's nice Color LaserJet printer for the price of those cartridges

      True, because everybody knows how cheap it is to buy color toner.
    • You think thats bad... we have an office manager who just loves to put our corporate logo, in color, on every document we put out. We have several economical laser printers, but she is tied to our one color inkjet printer, going through both color and black and white ink like mad.

      This despite the fact that it's far cheaper, faster, and looks much better to get paper with our logo (in color) from the print shop down the street and run it through the lasers.

      I've tried a few times to explain these economics to her, but have since learned it's a futile persuit.

      --
    • Quit buying the name-brand cartridges altogether. This place [123inkjets.com] has by far the cheapest prices on inkjet cartridges. I know, because I've priced them all over the place and nobody touches them. Low shipping, too.

      No, I don't work for them, nor am I affiliated with them. I'm just a cheap bastard that refused to pay for expensive ink. And with the price of great-quality inkjets down under $100USD (I picked up my Canon S450 for $60 at Fry's and it's great) it doesn't make sense to spend 1/3 of the price on ink every month.

  • Ever since Epson started shipping the first inkjet cartridge in the late 1980s, manufacturers have been gouging consumers by selling them low-quality, overpriced refill cartridges. One needs to look no further than HP's balance sheet to see that many printer models are actually subsidized by the company, in order to lure users to purchase their most expensive ink cartridges. As a matter of fact, the ink inside the average printer cartridge only costs the manufacturer about 7 (seven) cents! Here are a few suggestions for beating HP and friends at their own game, and refilling your ink cartridge for significantly less than it costs to buy a refill:
    • Refill kits. Many vendors offer kits that will allow you to add more ink to an empty cartridge several times over. With the proper use of plugs and caution, this may save you hundreds of dollars a year.
    • Buy from Pricewatch. Pricewatch [pricewatch.com] allows you to find the cheapest vendors worldwide of most computer hardware, and you can usually find ink cartridges there for about 60% off retail prices.
    • Warranty service. Most cartridges are sold with a (n albeit poor) warranty. Use about half the cartridge, then apply a small quantity of glycerin or sugar water to the jets to clog them. Send the cartridge back to HP and wait a week to get your replacement.
    • Return it. When you've got a dead cartridge in your hand and you're trying to print out that last minute book report, don't despair. Head over to Best Buy and pick up a new cartridge. Then, spray a bottle of typewriter ink liberally all over the old cartridge and (optionally) your hands and arms. Head back to the store and accuse them of selling you a defective cartridge, which exploded (and thus drained all of its ink) when you installed it. Voila! You will have a new cartridge for free.
    • File a complaint with the BBB. The majority of inkjet cartridges clog irreparably between the time when the warranty expires, and the time when the ink runs out. Make the manufacturer accountable for selling you a shoddy product by complaining to the BBB, your Attorney General, and the IFCC.
    In summary, there are things you can do about this situation. You don't need to be a sheep.

    /fug

    • You speak as if the Better Business Bureau is some sort of stand-alone group that has some sort of teeth to it. Do you know who pays their bills? The big companies that you want to complain about. If you want to see the BBB at "work" check out this page [gamershardware.com] detailing the ongoing hassles with Best Buy and the GeForce 4 debacle.

      Forget about the BBB.

  • by Limburgher (523006) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:37PM (#3602577) Homepage Journal
    One problem with laser is that it spikes the hell out of your power supply, will kill a UPS, and if not on aseperate circuit can wreak havoc with your other equipment. Inkjets are much tamer, and while a pain in the ass and slower, are safer for beginning/home lUsers for this reason. Since they're also cheaper to make than lasers and better than dot-matrix, inkjet will probably have a lock on consumers for some time.
    • If you have plugged your printer into a UPS, you have larger issues.

      The load generated by a small laser printer is smaller than your run of the mill hairdryer. So it may be safer, but I'm not sure that laser printers are unsafe.

      Also, the documents produced by injets are unsafe and are easily destroyed by moisture. This is my biggest problem with injets.

      As an aside, I have used laser printers that could draw 12 amps since it did multi-stage color laser printing. And the first time we printed with it, BAM the lights went out.

    • Unless we're talking about a UPS the size of a dorm fridge, you're not going to want to plug it into a UPS anyway. UPSes are for saving your work when the power goes out, not for running from in the case of a power failure. That's what generators are for. A lot of people make this mistake, but a UPS is just not a cost-effective system for running when the power is out - It's just to hold you until a generator spins up.

      Before you start ranting about the cost of a generator system, consider that a good-sized UPS costs a great deal of money. It will cost you about $500-$600 to get a 5 kilowatt generator with automatic cutover (That's over 10 hours of runtime at 50% load, per five gallons of gasoline) which can run things like your lighting as well, not just a PC and a laser printer.

      Meanwhile, a 3kvA UPS is around $1500 and up. Sure you don'ty have to buy gas for it, but you do have to buy batteries eventually, and good ones aren't cheap.

      Anyway, you can always resubmit a print job. Just put your laser printer on a good surge suppressor. If you need to run when the power is out, invest in a generator system. It doesn't cost as much as you might think and it will run for hours, not just minutes.

  • A laser printer I bought several (8, I'd guess) years ago came with a toner cartridge that would only print 1/3 as many pages as a new replacement cartridge, this was explained deep in the manual somewhere...

    I believe it was a Canon, but i'm not sure.

    --
    Benjamin Coates
  • My girlfriend bought a HP (900 or 1000 something) inkjet printer last year and it came with what the sales rep called "starter" cartridges that weren't completely full. This was at a Circuit City store and of course he really really wanted us to buy replacement cartridges with it anyways. We did buy them because I knew we'd need them shortly anyways.

    In any case, when I got home I looked at the printer box and at the replacement cartridge box, and both stated the same milliliters (or whatever inkjet ink is measured in).

    So did HP state the wrong thing on the box, or did the Circuit City salesman lie through his teeth in an attempt to get an extra $50 sale?
  • by Brigadier (12956) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:43PM (#3602632)


    I use alot of large format plotters. Right now regarding inkjet Encad and HP seem to be the favorites. Even bulk ink plotters like HP1050 series requires you to purchase an inktank instead of just pouring in more ink. Encad on the other hand sells jugs of milk that you can pour in on the fly even while printing.

    I worked for a company making high end thermal printers and the trick to their sales were to force customers to use their inks and substrate. one by placing wierd punch patterns on the paper then patenting it. ofcourse this was played off as a superior punch pattern for accuracy. funny enough when the pattent ran out they left the patter behind. Secondly they constantly changed the firing patterns on the head of the printer so other films wouldn't work or last as long. When customers called up who used other products it was standard to blaim the non brand name film or substrate. It's no secrets companies strong arm customers into buying their peripherals and materials at a higher cost.
  • Not only are the OEM cartridges that come with the printers are half full. So are most of the refill cartridges people buy.

    See this link [hp.com] for the 'refil' cartridge at 34 bucks.

    See this link [hp.com] for the 'large' cartridge at a 'bargain' 55 bucks.

    They're the same size.

    -- rob
    • Uh? From the respective pages:
      specifications
      * Ink volume: 19 ml
      * Page yield: 450 pages based on 15% coverage
      and: specifications
      * Ink volume: 38 ml
      * Page yield: 970 pages based on 15% coverage
      Now, maybe it's because I'm European or something, here, but to me it's pretty easy to see that the large cart's 38 ml is actually more than the budget one's 19. Hopefully, I'm not unique with this ability. ;^)
  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:44PM (#3602645) Homepage Journal
    but I do not think of HP as a sleazeball company. They make high quality products for fair prices, treat their employees reasonably well, and you never hear about Chinese 6-year-olds assembling LJ4100's in a sweatshop someplace.

    So, why are they pulling this scam? Is it a change in corporate culture? Is HP actually evil, with a thin chocolaty covering? Is it actually a fair tactic? Is it a manufacturing or shipping issue?

    Insight please...
  • Cartridge refilling (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Telecommando (513768)
    Some years ago I ran across a product that made refilling cartridges easy. I believe it was called KleanHands. It consisted of a reusable printhead and replaceable cartridges of ink. Much cheaper than HP cartridges. I found that the ink cartridges were easily refillable, too. We bought some where I work for an HP Officejet fax machine.

    Unfortunatly that product seems to no longer be available and only worked on a limited number of HP printers. (not mine of course) Too bad someone doesn't make something similar today for color cartridges.

    I've been refilling my HP cartridges for a couple of years, with mixed results. Sometimes it works well, sometimes the cartridge clogs up or worse, leaks all over. I'd say it works about 50% of the time. Still cheaper than paying HP's inflated prices.

    Lately though, HP's changed the design of their cartridges making it harder to refill them. You either have to drill a hole in the black cartridges or use a vacuum method to refill them. It can be done, it's just a hassle and usually messy.
    The color ones are easier, just crack the top off and fill the sponges with ink. At least that method still works. (for now)

    I know some would say, why bother? Just get a laser printer, right? Well, I already have a laser printer, an HP LJ IIID with envelope feeder and duplex feeder that I got for free from a dumpster. (with a stack of toner carts) Some idiot got a wire hooked into the gears while changing the toner cartridge and shredded up some wiring. I patched them back together and have been using it ever since. It's great for black and white and I use it probably 90% of the time, but I still need color for some printouts so the HP stays attached to my network.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's well known within the company that HP's best revenue stream is it's ink business. They rigorously enforce their patents on the cartridges (thus why you never see "generic" cartridges) and go after refill companies as well. Anything goes to protect the ink revenue stream. It's been said internally that HP isn't a computer company, it's an INK company.

    HP used to have a "print on demand" service where you subscribe to various printed journals or newsletters and they'd automatically print for you whenever there was a new issue. Of course, the motivation was to get you to use up more ink. (They canned it because apparently most people realized it was pretty silly.)

    If you want a project to get good acceptance in the company, show how it can help people squirt out lots of ink and you'll definitely get the backing of the execs. It's been this way for years.

    One other interesting bit: The one thing that was NOT mentioned publicly about why it was good for HP to merge with Compaq, and why they're keeping both lines of home PCs (rather than consolidate around one brand) is this: Instead of Compaq home PC package including Lexmark printer with a PC, they'll of course ship with an HP inkjet printer, which means more market share for home printers which means more ink. Of course, they didn't want to push this point for fear it would raise the eyebrows of those who needed to approve the deal, but don't think it wasn't part of their motivation and revenue forcasting.

    -- an HP insider
  • If they were really concerned with driving down costs for customers and saving themselves money, they would adopt a standard size ink cartridge that fits all their printers. Epson is nutorious for this. They have as many sizes and shapes of ink carts. as they have printers. Actually, they have even more, since most require a color and a black. It makes no sense to me. They could cut their costs dramatically if they only went through the effort of coming up with a standard size cartridge. Using Epson as an example, their printers all can be grouped into catagories, either they are 720x720 dpi, 1440x720dpi or 2880x720 dpi. Why do they need to change the shape of the cartridge for every printer? Wouldn't it be much cheaper to only have to produce a few standard sizes instead of as many different ones as they have printers?
  • by ^chuck^ (131444) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @12:50PM (#3602691) Homepage Journal
    The joys and savings of cost of a dot-matrix. Not to mention the fact that there are pages out there designed specifically to create music while you print (for the speakerless/soundcardless of us out there).
  • I hardly ever buy inkjet cartridges. I use a refill kit with a syringe and it works just fine for me. After a while, the cartridges do wear out, and I have to get a new one, but I save a LOT of money this way. There are a number of places online that sell complete kits with all the materials you need, and even a CDROM with an instructional video. Check it out!
  • I bought some crappy HP InkJet for $35 dollars because I print precisely 2 pages per month and I didn't want to have to disconnect my wife's Laser from her stupid Macintosh and carry it over to my computer.

    The chances of me ever buying a replacement cartridge for this thing are slim. In two years when I run out of ink, I'll just buy a new printer! At $35 bucks, it's less than the cost of the cartridge!

  • This is not a problem with just the inkjet companies. I recently purchased a Lexmark C710 color laser, and inside was a little note saying that "by the way, we jipped you on toner, these cartridges are good for only 3000 pages, not 10000" (I forget the exact numbers).

    Aside from that, it's been a great printer. But I was pretty pissed to find that note. It should have been clearly stated on the web site where I ordered it, on Lexmark's site, and on the outside of the package.
  • REFILL (Score:3, Informative)

    by jridley (9305) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @01:08PM (#3602826)
    Before I buy a new inkjet, I check the online refill suppliers and make sure that they're reasonably easy to refill. I just don't buy printers that are not easy to refill.

    I made an exception for the Epson 870 photo printer, but only after someone figured out how to refill it at all (originally it was not possible, but someone figured out how to cheat). It was good enough to put up with a little bit of hassle in filling the carts (it still only takes about 10 minutes)

    The new carts for this printer are about $20 each. However, for $50 I bought enough ink to refill them dozens of times. Just be sure to get a specific formulation for your printer, not one of these Wal-Mart "universal" ink refilling kits.

    To dispel some myths before they come up:

    I have been refilling for 3 years now, both HP and Epson, probably 30 to 40 cartridge refills, and NOT ONE INSTANCE of a clogged head or anything.

    Some people say the ink quality isn't the same. They're right; the aftermarket stuff is BETTER. I have a few dozen photos hanging on the wall behind me printed on the Epson 870. They have all faded in the sunlight a bit, but the ones printed with original Epson ink have faded A LOT more. Another complaint is possible color inaccuracies. I don't know, they look OK to me but I don't have "pantone eyes."

    Also, they can't "void your warranty" for using aftermarket inks. Requiring people to buy their ink products for their printers is called "product tying" and is AFAIK an illegal monopolistic practice.
  • "guess which division of HP made more money than the other four combined? "
    the division that allows me to by a new printer ever 6 months because its cheaper then the ink?
  • They key is to use remanufactured toner and inkjet cartridges from a reputable, low-volume company. High-volume companies do a lousy job. Refilled cartridges are also not the same thing as remanufactured cartridges.

    A good remanufacturer takes apart the entire cartridge by hand and replaces worn parts. They then fill the cartridge completely full with toner that is often better than what HP/Lexmark/etc use.

    I buy toner cartridges from this place [lptnow.com] in my city. They have a 100% guarantee on their cartridges. However, every cartridge I've gotten from them has been fantastic. I'm not sure of any decent Internet shops, but I believe this small-town shop can ship cartridges also.
  • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @02:31PM (#3603424) Homepage

    Remove the cheap solvent, and, by weight, inkjet ink is more expensive than gold.
  • Wanna know.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @02:45PM (#3603540)
    I just want to know if any of you have come across this scam:

    (I have seen this happen 3 times in my career in IT)

    You get a call from some one, they find out that you are in charge of purchasing for you IT dept in your co. They tell you that they are going to send you your free gift! a small tv or some such thing. If you accept this gift - they send you a pallat (sp?) of laser printer toner cartridges and try to charge you like $200.00 each.

    They bill you and try to send you an invoice at some regular interval.

    When I first got into IT I mistakenly accepted the seemingly innocent free gift from a vendor and had this happen. They had told me that they were an authorized HP cartridge re-manufacturer, and that the toner cartridges containg high quality super fine toner which yeilded over a thousand more pages per cartridge (no - I did not fall for this BS as i will explain) - they continued on the superiority of their re-furbished crap... I was very wise/lucky to basically record the conversation in transcript form in notepad....

    I told them I did not want to buy any of their cartridges - but sure I would accept the free gift that they wanted to send me regardles... big mistake. They sent the free gift all right - right along with half a pallet of the toner cartridges i didnt want.

    So I accepted the gift, but refused delivery of the pallet. but the delivery guy was apparently giving instructions not to take no for an answer and would not accept the refusal of delivery. and left me with the pallet - and the invoice for a few thousand dollars.

    I was pissed off... luckily I had the entire ordeal meticulously documented... for some reason I felt the whole thing was fishy and kept very good notes.

    being that the company said that they were one of the few nationally certified and autorized HP cartridge manufacturers - and that the delivery of the toner carts was total BS - and that they were charging over 200 per toner I was pissed off.

    I called up HP and asked about their authorizing such shady companies - I was informed by HP that there was nbo such thing as an auth'd cartridge remanufacturer... and they forwarded me to their legal dept. I talked with them about the whole thing... emailed the transcripts of the whole ordeal - and they sent someone next day to pick up the pallet of illegal cartridges (but said I could keep two or three for my troubles)\

    Then since we never paid the invoice to the con company - they called up demanding their money. I told them that I would be happy to pay them - if they could prove that they were authorized HP remanufacturers (I dont remember exactly why - but HP said that I should not tell them that I had reported them until they gave me the go ahead... they said to give them the run around on the invoice for a few weeks - and they would contact me and tell me when they had completed their investigation)

    they called every single day trying to get payment out of us. Then they sent us another pallet of toner carts - that HP galdly picked up again the next day.

    Finally I had the pleasure of telling the guys on the other end of the line that I ahd documented every last detail - including them verifying their mailing address 3 times for payment of the invoice and had reported them to HP and the BBB and the state attorney general for fraud. You should have heard the guy on the other end - he went stark raving mad into a panic - especially after I was able to document exact conversations and every single time they called me.

    They claimed that what I did was illegal and that I should be prepared to be sued "big time" by them. They never called me again....

    But ! some others tried to get in on the game a few years later. I received calls where they said "Hi, sam - we would like to send you your free gift!" I would ask them what company they were from, get them to repeat and verify their company name a few times - then laugh and tell them I knew their scam and that I was calling the Ca state attorney general - they would promptly hang up.

    Anyone else seen this scam before?
    • Re:Wanna know.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by bopo (105833)
      Anyone else seen this scam before?

      Sadly, yes. These people are refered to as "toner pirates" in the office supply industry.

      I'm the office manager of a small law firm. During the first few months of my time here, someone called who claimed to be from our photocopier company and wanted to verify the model of our photocopier. Not knowing any better, I told them.

      Then, a few weeks/months later, someone calls saying they are from our photocopier company and they are having a great deal on our toner. I saw "Great! Send us some!"

      When the invoice arrives, the price on the invoice seems high, so I doublecheck what supply companies charge for our type of toner. The price we've been charged is much much higher (2x-3x, I forget exactly).

      I sent the toner back by slow-boat FedEx (at our own expense) along with a letter saying "Here is your toner back, please don't ever contact us again." They kept calling, of course, but I'd learned my lesson.

      The FTC has a great page [ftc.gov] regarding these kinds of scams that includes variations on the scam, your rights, and possible remedies.

  • Draft mode (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday May 29, 2002 @02:57PM (#3603696) Homepage Journal
    I have an HP and tend to print most of my documents in draft mode. For most intents and purposes, especially for text documents, it is is perfectly sufficient. Since the print head seems to pass twice for high quality, I would guess that I am on average doubling the life of my ink cartridge. If I need something to dazzle then the high quality mode is there when I need it.

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