Most of us grind our teeth at the high costs of our ink cartridges. You pay a good chunk of cash for a printer and then spending money again and again and again on new cartridges. Now, imagine you spend a lot on new ink … only to find out your printer won’t accept it.
That could happen if you buy counterfeit printer ink. It’s a huge market that adds up to about $3.5 billion in market value, according to the Imaging Supplies Coalition. Fake goods are a huge issue, from counterfeit ink and toner supplies all the way to fake toys and electronics.
Tap or click here for fakes you’ll come across when Christmas shopping. If you plan to pick up any office supplies this holiday season, watch out. One friend of the show reached out to us with a story you can learn from.
Everything looks normal — until you pop the ink in
Here’s what happened: Our friend bought ink for an HP printer from Amazon. It wasn’t like she was buying from an unusual brand. It was from the official HP Store, and she had bought this same ink several times in the past.
Judging from the screenshot, you would think everything was good to go. It’s on Amazon and it’s from an official brand. But get this.
Once she inserted the new ink cartridge, an error message popped up:
Just like that, she realized she had been bamboozled. She’s reached out to Amazon to resolve the issue. The seller sent a replacement. And get this: It was the wrong ink. She’s still waiting for a replacement that will actually work.
So, what can you do if you’re in the same spot or before the next time you buy ink?
First off, don’t trust everything on Amazon. Since it’s such an enormous marketplace, frauds are far from rare. Before you buy anything else on Amazon, read this important warning. Baby seats, swaddles, artworks and all sorts of goods are sold under false descriptions. Often, scammers will impersonate trustworthy brands to try and sell you trash.
How to make sure you’re buying legitimate ink
One way to validate HP ink in particular is through its website. Another common piece of advice is to buy through a legitimate retailer — but that’s what the listener who reached out to Kim did, and she still got in trouble. If you want to go the extra mile, you can buy ink straight from the manufacturer’s website or in person at an office supply store you trust to avoid any potential third-party tampering.
Also, make sure you’re buying from a retailer that offers replacements or returns. Also, when it comes to ink, don’t let it sit too long. Make sure it works when you receive it.
Fake cartridges can be dangerous. They may leak and damage the inside of your machine. One way to watch out for fakes is by looking at the price tag. If it’s too low and too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
Falling for scams is tough to deal with. Tap or click here for three immediate steps to take after you’ve been tricked.
Here’s an easy way to save money on ink
Having your own personal printer is so convenient. You can print coupons, the kids’ homework and important documents for work, all from the comfort of your home. The downside? Expensive ink cartridges — unless you purchase an Epson EcoTank printer.
Kim has recommended Epson’s EcoTank printers to countless friends, listeners and readers. Why? They come with a ridiculous amount of ink right in the box — enough to print a whopping 6,000 color pages. When that runs out, you just refill the ink tanks instead of wasting money on ink cartridges.