One in four refilled print cartridges DOA

21 Sep 2007

Print cartridge maker HP has advised consumers to beware of buying well-known grocery giants’ in-store/refill brand and various refill stations’ inkjet cartridges, warning that one in five compatible alternatives were either “dead on arrival” or failed prematurely.

Across Europe it is becoming a popular phenomenon for high street grocery chains to enter the consumer electronics market and many are selling their-own branded inkjet cartridges compatible with popular printer brands such as HP.

However, HP has warned that these are effectively refilled cartridges that were binned by consumers and present possible disappointment.

Research conducted by European research firm Innovationstechnik on more than 1,000 compatible alternative inkjet cartridges from 16 major high street retail players found that 24pc or almost one in four were dead on arrival or failed prematurely.

It found that one in three – 33.6pc – inkjet cartridges refilled at shops or in kiosks were dead on arrival.

HP business development manager Eduardo Macias told that original print cartridges from manufacturers like HP would on average print 34pc more pages than compatible alternatives and 69pc more pages than those bought at a refill outlet.

“I don’t think people fully realise that when they buy another brand of cartridge for a HP printer they think it’s a bona fide HP cartridge when in fact its simply a refilled cartridge.

“As a result the probability of such a cartridge actually working is quite low. When the consumer thinks he or she is saving a few quid they’re not actually saving in the end.

“The problem for HP is they won’t blame the firm that sold them the cartridge but would actually blame the manufacturer of the printer itself.”

Gary Tierney, general manager of HP’s Inkjet Products Group in Ireland told “We don’t make cartridges for anyone else to brand. But if someone sees a store-branded product the fact of the matter is it is second-hand, possibly even more than second hand.

“Retail chains, including traditional food retailers, now see a route to market through electronics like 42-inch plasma TVs and laptops. But the problem we find is that if they buy a print cartridge with someone else’s brand on it there’s a perception that these products are made by HP and they’re not.

“It is important to note that the print head on each cartridge is not a small bottle top but a detailed piece of electronics. And in most cases of these store-branded ‘compatible’ products they are actually something that somebody else threw in a bin,” Tierney said.

By John Kennedy