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Why You May Be Overpaying For Printer Ink

2011-02-09

Printer ink prices are enough to make many home and even some business, ink jet printers to sit idle gathering dust because the cost of replacing depleted ink cartridges are not within the user's budget. In the cases of some older printers, the cost of replacing the printer ink cartridges may exceed the value of the printer, which may seem to make as much sense as paying $20 for the only type of blades that will go into a $7 razor. Like with razor manufactures, it appears that printer manufactures are able to sell the initial unit so cheaply because they make up for it by charging high prices for the inevitable replacement components. Is there any sound justification for this?

According to one of Hewlett-Packard's marketing managers printer ink is completely different from other types of inks and it is expensive to develop printer ink technology and defend its patents, not to mention the teams of chemists and technicians needed to develop it. Therefore, the customer pays for what it takes to produce ink and manufacture special and unique printer ink cartridges that will guarantee excellent image quality and reliability. There are aftermarket manufactures that offer replacement cartridges at lower prices than the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cartridges, but there can be a noticeable decline in print quality.

A more affordable alternative to replacing empty ink cartridges is having them refilled. The cost of refilling an empty cartridge can be more than 50 percent less than the cost of a new cartridge. However, finding a store the refills printer cartridges can present a problem, particularly for consumers who live in rural areas. Also, a review of remanufactured ink cartridges by Consumer Reports magazine concluded that approximately 70 percent of remanufactured cartridges did not last as long as stated, as opposed to 2 percent of new cartridges. There are even some do-it-yourself refill kits available for consumers willing to go to the trouble and mess of refilling their own printer ink cartridges but as with aftermarket cartridges, the quality may not be the same as with the OEM ink.

Despite the justification from the printer ink manufactures, most consumers feel they are still overpaying for printer ink cartridges. However, if ink cartridge prices were to become more affordable, it stands to reason there would be an according increase in printer prices, otherwise how could the printer manufactures make a profit? The adage "you get what you pay for" is what OEM manufactures stand by and as long as the technology keeps going into making better quality printer ink prices, consumers should not expect prices to drop, but should still be able to good deals on printers.

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