Everyone wants to get the best value for money while still getting great quality and ensuring printer reliability. In the world of inkjet printer cartridges the higher prices typically cause to people to search around for the best deal. But this can have negative effects for both you (the consumer) and the supplier. The supplier is losing out on money and the consumer is risking printer performance and long term printer reliability.
As such, buying or reusing genuine ink products will always be the best solution, whether they are purchasing genuine OEMs from the brand themselves, refilling genuine cartridges (i.e. getting them refilled at Costco, Fry’s Electronics, etc.) or purchasing remanufactured ink products (like those offered from Inkplicity).
So, what’s the big deal with using counterfeit cartridges and why look out for them?
What Are They?
Counterfeit cartridges are made to look incredibly similar to OEM cartridges, fooling you into thinking you are getting a great value product and getting the same quality as a genuine cartridge. These manufacturers are illegally copying the design, parts and even the patents of the original manufacturer – clear violations of manufacturer’s intellectual property (IP) rights. In the industry these types of products are commonly referred to as ‘infringing compatibles’. US Customs and Border Protection officers, via official GEO (general exclusion orders) issued by US district courts, routinely stop these shipments at port of entry or within Amazon warehouses where they are commonly transferred and/or stored. The frequency of these illegal product raids currently occurs two to three times a month.
You may find it hard to tell the difference as some counterfeit cartridges can be made to look incredibly similar to the real deal. The other downside is that these cartridges are illegal to sell and produce, which no one wants to get involved with ideally.
How To Spot A Counterfeit?
We’ve just pointed out that it can be incredibly hard to tell the difference between counterfeit cartridges and genuine cartridges. It is possible to tell the difference by taking a good hard look at these cartridges.
Manufacturers will typically display their trademark logo on the top/side label. They may also use a variety of other methods to illustrate it is a genuine ink supply. For example, a security label that will change color from clear to cyan when tilted (i.e. Samsung). The embossed character should also change color when viewed from different angles.
Be on the lookout for counterfeit products
HP has a handy QR code on their security seals that can be scanned to prove whether the item is valid or not. There are also quick ways to manually inspect the safety label to ensure that you have purchased a genuine product or a counterfeit. Other manufacturers have a security label that contains a unique serial number and barcode along with a background that will change depending on how you view it.
A big clue to figuring out if a cartridge is counterfeit is where you are buying it. If it is from a third party website and is at a remarkably lower price than you might expect, then chances are it’s not a genuine cartridge, and in many cases particularly with Amazon cartridges there’s a VERY HIGH chance it’s an infringing compatible (or clone) cartridge. Of course there is a chance that it is real and just happens to be severely discounted, but it may be safer to err on the side of caution and only purchase from a reputable source that specializes in remanufactured original ink cartridges (like Inkplicity.com).
Why Should You Care?
You may be wondering why on earth you should care if your cartridge is genuine or not, after all you got it cheaply right? Well that may be the only positive experience you will have with a counterfeit cartridge. Due to the cartridge not being genuine, it also means that it is not filled with genuine ink or an ink which is compatible with the printer’s built-in printhead. Some overseas printer ink contains trace levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which will damage the built-in printhead over time.
In addition, you are far more likely to have very poor printouts that include streaks, splotches over your work, substandard colors and much more. This is obviously unacceptable for most people as it will result in you inadvertently spending more money just trying to fix the problem.
Even worse for you, using counterfeit products can significantly reduce the life of your printer (i.e. damage to built-in printhead which is the heart of the printer). Overseas manufacturers who make counterfeit cartridges are probably unlikely to care about quality standards, so you can expect substandard quality in the design of the cartridge itself. This can cause the cartridge to not fit properly into your printer, causing leakages and electrical damage that could result in you having to buy a new printer entirely.
Be On The Lookout!
To conclude from this, it’s always worth it to pay a little extra more to get optimal print quality. You are guaranteed to get high quality prints when using genuine cartridges (either manufacturer new or remanufactured cartridges which have been refilled from a reputable source), with the added benefit of being able to return cartridges that are malfunctioning.
Below is a list of printer manufacturers and their information pages just in case you think you may have a non-genuine or counterfeit cartridge.
Find an Ink Cartridge Refill Store Near You (USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany & Romania)
Premium ink refilling services are provided by major retailers in the USA, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Germany & Romania. To find the nearest refill store and ink pricing, refer to links below:
Costco USA (475+ stores)
Costco Canada (88+ stores)
Costco Mexico (37+ stores)
Costco United Kingdom (1 store)
Fry’s Electronics USA (34 stores)
Auchan France (9 stores)
LeClerc France (8 stores)
Intermarche France (2 stores)
Saturn Germany (2 stores)
WHSmith LOCAL UK (2 stores)
Maplin, UK (2 stores)
Metro, Romania (3 stores)
Retail Inkjet Solutions (Ink Refill Equipment Provider)
How to Refill Cartridges:
For questions regarding refilled cartridge usage, printer questions/problems, new cartridge support offerings or ink refill locations please Contact Us.
NOTE: If your ink cartridge suffered an electronic or physical failure or you are unable to find a refill store close to you may we suggest you try a remanufactured ink cartridge from our on-line web site Inkplicity. Our ink cartridges have a high reliability rating, come with a 1-year warranty and we provide free shipping for all orders above $30 (USA residents only). Save an extra 15% by entering voucher code “SAVE15” during checkout. These are original ink cartridges which have been refilled and have been electrically bench tested to confirm performance.