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The printer companies' dirty secret

Epson, Canon and others practically give away their printers because they make money on the ink cartridges. These little plastic containers filled with 50 cents of ink sell for $20 to $40. Can you imagine if you could only buy gas from the manufacturer of your car and it came in cartridges at $5,000 a gallon? That's right - printer ink is now over $5,000 a gallon! A typical cartridge holds less than a half ounce of ink for about $20. A gallon is 128 ounces. 128 x 2 x $20 = $5180.

How do the printer companies prevent third-party ink cartridges from being recognized? By putting a chip on their own ink cartridges which the printer reads. If the chip can not identify itself to the printer as a match, the ink cartridge will be rejected. They charge about two dollars more to cover the cost of that chip. So you are paying extra for a chip which prevents you from shopping for the best deal. Talk about adding insult to injury! So why can't you just remove that chip and attach it to a third-party ink cartridge? Because when the printer thinks the ink cartridge is empty, it sends a signal to the chip to self-destruct. The chip can not be reset. So you have to keep paying for new chips which actually work against your interest!

But the situation gets even worse. Many printer reports that the ink cartridge is empty when there is still 10-15% of the ink left. This is because the printer only estimates the amount of ink left. It is dangerous for the print head to run out of ink while printing so it errs on the side of caution. Between the chip and the wasted ink, you could be losing several dollars on every ink cartridge you buy. Are you feeling robbed yet?

In an effort to keep the stranglehold on this windfall, printer companies imply that there is some secret to these ink cartridges other companies don't know and using another brand will ruin your printer. They top it off by claiming the warranty is voided if other brands of ink cartridges are used. However, under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, it would be illegal for them to void your warranty. Among other things, the acts states:

Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty. In other words, they can not insist that you use only their cartridges.

Fortunately, solutions are at hand. Unfortunately, some of them don't work reliably and even damage your printer. Some companies are selling remanufactured ink cartridges - used ink cartridges which have been refilled with new ink. There are a number of problems with this solution. Used cartridges often contain clotted ink inside. Adding new ink to old ink is dangerous. Different ink formulas could react. Clotted ink could end up in your printer heads. Every day I see several messages on tech forums from people asking why their printers stopped working after they started using refilled ink cartridges. (I also see messages from people who say they have refilled ink cartridges without a problem. That's like saying they drove through a red light and didn't have an accident so it must be safe to continue doing so.) If you don't plan on replacing your printer, don't refill your single-use ink cartridges or use remanufactured ink cartridges.

Note: many HP printers contain the heads in the ink cartridge. These are safe to remanufacture if done properly. The remanufactured ink cartridges are disassembled, cleaned, refilled and tested. Even if there is a problem, it will only affect the ink cartridge and will not damage the printer. Refilling any ink cartridges - where new ink is added to the old, partically clotted ink already in the cartridge, is a risky proposition which often fails, can damage the printer and this damage is specifically excluded from the warranty.

For over fifteen years we have been using and selling compatible Epson ink cartridges, including Refillable Epson Cartridges and Reusable Epson Ink Cartridges. They work just as well as the name brand and last even longer since they are more generous with the amount of ink they give you. Should your printer need replacement under the warranty, Epson ships an immediate replacement and tells you to use the box it came in to ship your printer back without the ink cartridges. So even if you are using compatible ink cartridges it can not affect your warranty.

One of my customers had to take her Canon printer to an authorized service center. To her surprise, they replaced her empty Canon ink cartridges with a clone brand! When she questioned this, the tech said, "They all work the same." If it's good enough for the authorized Canon repair center, it's good enough for you!

I have had folks tell me, "I won't use some ink cartridge made in China." Guess what? Genuine OEM ink cartridges are also made in China.

So don't worry about their scare tactics. Save over 90% by using our compatible Epson ink cartridges, particularly our reusable Epson ink cartridges and refillable Epson ink cartridges. Our ink cartridges are all guaranteed.

Here's an excerpt from a Computer Shopper article on compatible ink cartridges:

Although companies can't legally void your warranty simply for using third-party toner or ink, most manufacturers warn that print quality and printer reliability may suffer, and most reserve the right not to cover the cost of repairing a printer damaged through the use of third-party ink cartridges. Printer manufacturers may exaggerate the risks of using such ink cartridges, but at least in some cases, their concerns seem justified. That said, plenty of people have long used third-party toners and inks without any problems.

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