Warning: The 5 Real Dangers of Using Fake Ink Cartridges and Toners

The dangers may be greater than what you would expect.

As printing becomes more accessible, along with it comes the issue of fake ink cartridges and toners entering the market to provide users with cheaper options. But at what cost do consumers actually buy into when they support these products? Here are 5 dangers of using inferior parts in your printers.

1. Bad for the environment

Studies have shown that imitations cartridges almost always end up in a landfill. If you are concerned about plastic straws entering our ocean, then you should be concerned about your imitation ink cartridges and toners going into landfills! Most of the imitation/ non-genuine brand of ink cartridges do not have a service for proper recollection and recycling of the empty cartridges. Remanufacturers that recycle only do so for up to 31% of the total volume that they collect, while almost half of it goes to the landfills.

2. Potential harm to your printer

There are reports from printer technicians that out of the 71,231 printers that they service in a year, 28% of them are caused by non-genuine ink cartridges that caused toner leaks, clogging and printer damage. Based on the technician’s expertise, they found that the imitation ink cartridges required replacement twice as often compared to using genuine parts. Using non-genuine ink cartridges may provide savings in the short run, but they can potentially be costly with the additional servicing required and potential printer damage it can cause in the future.

3. Void Warranty

Along with the damage that is done to your printer, users will run the risk of voiding their warranty if the damage is caused by a fake ink cartridge or toner. Most printer warranties do not cover for the damages caused by third-party parts and users will normally have to pay a hefty fee to repair their printer. With almost 30% of fake ink cartridges and toners failing right out of the box, this could be a long and costly expenditure for very little short term gain.

4. Poor quality of prints

With the usage of non-genuine products, there comes a risk of the print coming out not as intended. Because the printers are designed to work with specific configurations, using a cartridge from a third party source can lead to higher discolouration (treatment of ink for UV exposure from the sun), inaccurate colour representation and inconsistent ink distribution on your prints. If your work is highly dependent on the quality of your prints, wouldn’t you want to remove the possibility of a sub-par result?

5. Bad for your health

This may be an oversight for most consumers but did you know your imitation ink cartridges emits harmful substances into the air that can be bad for your health? A study by a test lab shows those imitation ink cartridges emits harmful chemicals such as styrene, ink particles and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) that are way above acceptable limits. These chemicals are considered toxic and high amounts of it are known to cause cancer. As most of these third party brands are not regulated, it would be hard to say if the imitation ink cartridges would be safe for consumers. 

Companies combating against counterfeit

It is for reasons like this, that companies like HP are working together with local law enforcement authorities to combat counterfeits and fraud in the ink and toner supply chain. HP has an Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) Program that assists in conducting raids and arrests on offenders to protect businesses and consumers from the potential risks involved.

Companies like HP have various ways to verify if you are using genuine ink cartridges. Among the steps you can take:

 

- Check the price. 

Imitation toner cartridges can cost significantly less and may also undercut the price of remanufactured cartridges as well.

- Check the package

The package often states “compatible” or “new.” Some may even try to pass as remanufactured. Check for "country of origin,” “made in,” or “assembled in” country. If you don’t see a country listed or the country of origin is China, it’s likely an imitation.

- Check the brand

Imitation cartridge manufacturers may sell products under their own brand or under another company's brand.

- Check the description

You may find words such as “premium,” “premium compatible,” or “premium toner cartridge” on the packaging or in the product description.

- Examine the cartridge

Compare side-by-side with an Original HP cartridge. Look for variations in plastic colour or cartridge shape.

Alternatively, you may learn how to check if your ink cartridges are genuine here

IT IS EVERYONE'S FIGHT

Within the supply chain, HP also proactively protects channel partners and customers from unauthorised printing supplies through the Channel Partner Protection Audits (CPPA), an audit for HP’s partners. This is to provide partners and customers with the peace of mind that their ink and toners are 100% genuine. 

With the number of problems involved in using fake/imitation ink cartridges and toners, remember to always insist on genuine parts because what may be cheap now could be costly later.