Boston Man Sues HP & Staples Over $8000 per Gallon Printer Ink

Filed Under (OP News & Views) by Don on 19-12-2007

It is being widely reported that a gentleman from Boston has filed a federal lawsuit against HP and Staples for their backroom deal to sell only OEM HP toners.  OPI Magazine in an article released yesterday says that Ranjit Bedi in his filing claims that HP and Staples reached an illegal agreement between competitors to stop competing.  It also seeks class-action status.

For those of us who sell printers and their related supplies we know that manufacturers basically give away the printers only to make huge profits on the consumables in the printer such as black and colored inks.  The price of ink in an HP inkjet printer can be as much as $8000 per gallon which makes the pump price of gasoline nearly tolerable. (NOT!)  Printer manufacturers have been waging war against third-party toner makers for years.  These alternate toner manufacturers have come a long way since the old drill and fill methods initially used by many start-up remanufacturers back in the early 90′s.  The OEM manufacturers have become much more aggressive in their tactics against their competitors.

Manufacturers such as HP, Lenovo, Lexmark, Epson and others utilize technologies such as using microchips in their toner cartridges that work with the printer and can block the use of non-OEM toner cartridges.  Adding more misery and expense to and already frustrated buyer/user is a recent study by TÜV Rheinland  showed that often these chips reported the cartridge as empty when there were as much as one hundred pages in available ink still in the cartridge.  A big selling point for the remanufacturers for years was the fact that they actually filled the toner hopper with toner unlike the OEM’s.  The result was an average of 20% higher yield and cost savings that were up to 50% less than the OEM toners.  It will be interesting to see how the suit plays out. 

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