Off-brand cartridges break HP printers, “crap in – crap out”

Partners at HP Inc. say all the fuss over a firmware update that prevented some cloned cartridges from working in HP printers misses the point: branded cartridges break HP printers.

“It’s simple: crap in, crap out,” said Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, New York-based solutions provider Future Tech, a leader of HP Inc. Partners, #167 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500. “This is not a choice issue. It’s a quality problem. We see remanufactured cartridges leaking toner from the device. The risk is not worth the reward. If I were HP, I would stand my ground and do what is right for the company and not allow remanufactured ink cartridges to be used in HP printers.”

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HP COO Flaxman Reaffirms Commitment To Printer Security]

In addition to damaging printers, non-brand, counterfeit and remanufactured cartridges compromise safety, compromise print quality and cost customers more in the long run, partners said.

The outcry from partners came after HP released a fix for customers affected by a new cartridge authentication process that prevented some cloned cartridges from working with HP printers.

in one blog entry On Wednesday, HP COO Jon Flaxman apologized to customers affected by the issue, but reiterated HP’s commitment to “use security features going forward.”

Venero, an HP Managed Print Services partner, said his company stays away from stores where customers want to use remanufactured cartridges. “The cost of my services increases exponentially for devices that use remanufactured toner,” he said.

The clone cartridges are causing HP printers to fail, with customers blaming HP as the printer manufacturer — not the third-party clone cartridge manufacturer, Venero said.

“HP has invested billions and billions of dollars in research and development to create the leading printer offering on the market,” said Venero. “It makes no sense to allow an uncertified third-party toner cartridge supplier to influence the user experience.”

Bruno Tirone, president and CEO of MRA International Inc., an HP Inc. partner in Long Branch, New Jersey, said buying cloned cartridges ultimately costs the customer in the form of a defective printer that needs to be replaced.

“It’s a big mistake to use non-HP cartridges,” Tirone said. “Even if they save a few cents on the cartridge in six months to a year, they end up having to replace the printer. At the end of the day, the customer saved a few cents, but their (print) yield is a lot less and they destroyed their printer.”

The problem in most companies is that the purchasing department makes the purchasing decision about non-HP cartridges and not the IT department, said Tirone, which only sells HP printers and cartridges.

“The purchasing department trying to save money is actually costing the company more,” he said. “What happens is you end up leaking inside the printer. This means that the printer requires more maintenance. You end up destroying the printer. We repair printers. I see it daily with remanufactured cartridges. It’s crazy. But it’s a good market for me because I end up making money selling new printers.”

A sign of HP printer quality – a customer with a 30-year-old HP 5si printer that still works – and paid $200 for the cartridges. “It’s not a joke,” Tirone said. “This printer is still operational. I asked the customer if he would like to replace it because when he turns it on the lights go out. The customer said it works. That’s the point: HP printers work with HP cartridges – period. “

Tirone said he sees HP Inc. unfairly singled out because it is the market leader. “When you’re the champion, everyone picks on you,” he said. “HP is the gorilla on the market.”

Dan Molina, CTO of San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, #373 on the CRN 2016 SP500, said buying a non-HP ink cartridge is like buying a Mercedes car and using non-Mercedes parts in the car.

Ultimately, using non-HP cartridges costs customers more, Molina said, noting that the cartridge issue is one of the reasons print managed services are popular with customers. “The whole point of selling a managed service is to free customers from the worry of managing day-to-day operations with printers so they can use that time for something more beneficial to their business,” Molina said.

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