Counterfeit and grey market goods cost the global economy billions each year. Organisations and consumers all suffer, yet too many people disregard the knock-on effects of purchasing counterfeit goods in order to get an irresistible bargain.
Unfortunately, the adage, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”, is nearly always spot on. There’s no question that in the case of printer consumables such as ink and toner, genuine cartridges are far better than non-originals or counterfeit ones.
Sure, the genuine article comes with a slightly higher price tag, but users are not only paying for quality, assuring that every page is perfect. They are also paying to make sure that their investment in printers is protected by a warranty that will not be voided by using counterfeit cartridges, and that their expensive equipment isn’t damaged.
There are several types of counterfeits such as new-build clones, refilled cartridges, or remanufactured ones that are labelled and packaged to fool a user into thinking they are the genuine article.
Costing more in the end
There are a few reasons why everyone should always buy products from the original manufacturer:
- Using a knock-off cartridge can render the warranty of the printer null and void.
- Generic or counterfeit cartridges and refills are prone to leaking, which can cause damage to the device.
- Legitimate vendors are more sustainable and care about the environment and supporting them means cartridges are disposed of in a greener fashion.
- Consistency in printing is only ensured when the ink or toner is bought from a genuine vendor or their trusted partner.
- There is a long-term effect on costs, as the original vendor units are designed to give the maximum number of prints per unit in line with the particular printing model.
- Each reprint that is printed thanks to not enough quality control with counterfeit goods means paper, electricity, time and ink are wasted.
- Your company’s brand image can be severely damaged for being associated with illegal activities.
- The impact in your country’s formal economy is affected by these criminal organisations, affecting people’s jobs and safety.
Stopping counterfeit goods
HP has spent a lot of money on initiatives to help lower the number of grey market and counterfeit toner cartridges and get them off the market.
These programmes help to prevent grey market products from crossing over borders, which in turn helps prevent legitimate partners who sell only real products from being undercut. Everyone wins, as brand value is upheld for both partners and their customers.
HP helps to pinpoint and reduce violations in several ways.
- The company enables regulators and investigators to trace origins in compliance reviews and audits.
- It offers additional layers of fraud protection from grey market, counterfeit and stolen goods by tightening supply-chain security.
- Some original HP toner cartridges are coded to make sure they will only work with printers from the same region.
- HP cartridge boxes feature messaging that lets customers and channel partners know what region the product is intended for.
- This helps to identify cartridges that are meant for sale elsewhere, but have been diverted to another region without HP’s consent or authorisation.
- HP adds serial numbers to the security labels on some of its original HP toner cartridge boxes.
- There are processes the tech giant has put in place to track the product, from the vendor to the distributor, to the second-tier reseller.
- The use of serialisation helps to expose grey marketers that compete with legitimate HP partners.
How to tell if a cartridge is counterfeit
There are several surefire signs that a cartridge is not a genuine HP one, but rather a grey market or fake.
With HP cartridges, security labels will be clearly visible. In addition, pricing will be standard across the board, and packaging will be high quality. Once already in use, reliable performance is the key sign that a cartridge is legitimate.
When buying new cartridges for your printer:
- Check the security label first and see if it has signs of being harvested. Then make sure that as you move it back and forth, as well as up and down, the colour changes or the “OK” and “√” move across the
- Scan the code by using a generic QR code reader and you will automatically be redirected to the HP Anti-Counterfeit and Fraud (ACF) Programme website to confirm the serial number.
- Importantly, always report any counterfeit products, which helps to stop fraud.
- Buy print cartridges from a trusted partner such as Tarsus Distribution as this will ensure that all products are the real McCoy.
Efficient printing, rapid results
While there are several good reasons to only purchase original HP inks and toners, the best one is that fake cartridges can’t compete with genuine ones on any level.
HP cartridges promise a low total cost of printing in the long term by preventing the inevitable damage that fake cartridges cause to equipment over time. They also ensure high-quality results, print after print.
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