Awhile back my Canon MultiPASS printer stopped printing and the print head needed to be replaced. I put off ordering a new one simply because I didn’t want to pay the $50 for it. Since I had a couple of other printers I could use, replacing the print head really wasn’t a priority anyway so I let it go for awhile with the idea that I would eventually get around to ordering it.
Unfortunately, one of the backup printers, an Epson, became a problem- not because it didn’t work, but because the rate of ink consumption was more than I bargained for or was willing to accept. The entire family was using it to print whatever they needed and it was constantly nagging me to replace ink cartridges- even if though they still contained plenty of ink.
I liked the Canon printer because it used four individual ink tanks for each individual color. Since they were simply tanks, using third party ink cartridges was not an issue and I saved hundred of dollars during the last six years that it worked.
Keep in mind the Canon print head did not go out because I used ink from third party manufacturers (which I did for years), but because this is a nine year old printer and I used it to print everything from invoices to marketing materials on hundreds of reams of paper and, occasionally, other materials as well. In other words, it just plain wore out.
Like the Canon printer, the Epson has individual ink tanks, but these are circuited cartridges, allowing the printer more control of them. This also empowers Epson to play games with me as a consumer, giving them more control over when and where I would buy more ink. I don’t like that.
My wife was aware that I wanted a new printer, so this weekend, for my birthday, she went out and purchased one. It was an HP.
Now, my wife knows how to shop. She is a very shrewd buyer. She can sniff out bargains in places you wouldn’t expect to find them and can negotiate with the best salespeople out there. However, like most consumers, she is not a tech, and the printer manufacturers know this. She, like millions of others, think cheap printers are a great deal. Instead she bought into the Great Conspiracy.
HP knows the printer business, and for the most part they make very good printers. There’s no doubt printers are their specialty and the quality of the printed pages proves it.
HP knows the printer business. Unfortunately they know it all too well. They know how to play consumers, even those as savvy as my wife. This is why I don’t buy HP printers. After graciously thanking her for her love and consideration, I explained to her why HP printers and I were not a good fit and why buying the HP printer was not a very good deal at all.
Techs who know consumer printers know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the Great Ink Jet Cartridge Conspiracy.
Let’s be honest here. The inkjet printer business is rigged. These manufacturers sell printers cheap because they can lock you into their ink cartridges and they are in total control of your ink purchases. You are completely at their mercy.
It’s no secret the stuff is grossly overpriced. Forget the excuses that the circuitry in the cartridge costs more and you get a fresh print head with every new cartridge. The packaging costs more than the cartridge and ink combined. It’s price gouging, pure and simple. Since all the manufacturers do it, you could even suspect collusion, although that may be a little harder to prove in a court of law.
Remember that not all of the circuited cartridges even include print heads. Epson cartridges are merely ink tanks with circuits and no print heads at all. Their sole purpose, as far as I can determine, is to detect the level of ink in the tank so the printer can nag me constantly to recharge the heads and buy more.
That brings me to the next annoyance – the need to “clean” and “recharge” the printer with ink. Granted, the print heads do get clogged and occasional cleaning may be necessary, but what’s with the constant recharging of every ink cartridge every time a cartridge is replaced? Is this really necessary, or is it another gimmick used by the manufacturer to artificially use up more ink in every tank in order to hasten the next ink purchase?
I remember a customer who used buy a new printer whenever she needed to purchase a new ink cartridge. Why? Because it was a $49 printer and a set of replacement ink cartridges cost around $60. She could buy a new printer with fresh ink and come out even – or, if she sold the slightly used printer for about half the price of the new one, even way ahead in the deal. It just made more sense.
Apparently after awhile HP and Lexmark caught on to this type of “circumvention” because they eventually began stocking new printers with “starter” cartridges containing less than a full measure of ink. There was just no way they were going to let the consumer get one over on them.
Then there was the after market inkjet debacle. The mere existence of third party inkjet manufacturers who could aid the consumer and risk exposing the Great Conspiracy was just not acceptable, so companies like HP and Epson moved quickly to stop the insurgence. Inkjet cartridges were rigged to shut down when empty to prevent refills. (they were already rigged with phony “expiration dates” to stop working after a certain period of time. Hey, ink isn’t food. It doesn’t go bad after a year on the shelf.) Lawsuits and lobbying ensued to use the rule of law to protect the conspirators and punish those third parties who stood in their way of complete domination of the proprietary inkjet cartridge market.
Today the only sanctuary the consumer has from being totally ripped off by the Conspirators is to hold on to older printers with true plain old “dumb” ink tanks like the Canon BJC series that don’t know what year it is, much less how to turn themselves off. Those cartridges sell for about one third of what the manufacturer’s brand costs and it’s the same stuff, so the fear mongering instigated by the manufacturer about the dangers of after market ink is just another tactic to perpetuate and empower the Great Conspiracy.
I am not a fan of HP. I really do not like Lexmark. I wouldn’t recommend a Lexmark printer to anyone if they paid me to do it. Now my Epson is telling me the yellow ink tank is low. It told me the black was empty last week and I spent almost $20 for a new one, only to find out the old one was still half full.
I don’t want a new HP printer. I don’t like Epson so much anymore. I want my Canon MultiPASS. I plan to order a new print head for it, perhaps tomorrow.
The Great Conspiracy lives on.