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How Printer Companies Control Ink Supplies To Improve Their Profits

2012-05-24

As most computer users know, printer manufacturers typically sell expensive ink cartridges for both new and older products. In fact, the cost of a year's supply of printer ink will often greatly outweigh the value of a printer. This is because of a pricing and product control strategy that manufacturers use to keep profits from ink sales high, but by understanding this strategy and by looking into refilling ink cartridges and other alternatives to name brand cartridges, consumers can limit their ink costs and avoid overpaying.

Printer companies who sell expensive ink cartridges usually own patents on their cartridge technologies. By subtly changing the designs of their ink cartridges every few years, they can keep these patents active and prevent competition. However, in order for this strategy to work, they need to sell a large number of printers. Popular printer manufacturers discount the cost of their printers, copiers and fax machines and typically include free color and black cartridges with the device. This hooks consumers, who are forced to buy expensive ink cartridges when the included cartridges run low. Because the ink manufacturers control their ink cartridge designs, they can charge more. Razor manufacturers use a similar strategy to sell high-priced refill blade cartridges for their products. Printer manufacturers are effectively controlling supply and driving up their profits.

Fortunately, consumers can often keep their ink costs low by looking into generic options. Generic manufacturers do not break patent law, but offer functional, high-quality ink cartridges at a reasonable price. Many online printer ink retailers carry generic ink cartridges along with name brand cartridges. Shopping online is one of the best ways to save money on printer ink, and there are generic options for nearly every new and legacy printer model. Refill kits are another great option. By refilling ink cartridges manually, computer users can often save hundreds of dollars per year without diminishing the quality of their prints. Refill kits are an especially attractive option for office computer users, as offices often spend thousands of dollars on ink and toner. Modern refill kits are easy to use and are unlikely to burst or break, and as it only takes a few seconds to refill a cartridge with ink, refill kits offer a simple, effective way to keep ink costs down in any environment.

Although printer manufacturers do everything that they can to control supply of their products, there are sufficient generic alternatives in place to keep manufacturers from overcharging. Printer users should explore all of their options when buying ink, especially for newer printers. Paying attention to ink prices and looking online can lead to serious savings in ink costs over an average printer's lifespan.

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