We Knew Printer Ink Was Expensive, but Now It Seems It’s Also a Blatant Scam!
Those incredibly cheap entry-level printers you find when sorting your options by "price lowest" can be very alluring if you're in the market for a new inkjet printer. However, don't assume it shows you're getting a good deal. Just as a drug dealer can offer a cheap initial "sample" to get you hooked before raising the price on all subsequent transactions, printer manufacturers use a similar business strategy. They can easily make up any loss from the printer's discounted sale by offering its ink cartridges for exorbitantly high prices. The printer firms then keep you on the hook for paying these outrageous ink rates for the duration of the printer, which is a very lucrative revenue stream for them.
Original cartridges from manufacturers like Canon and Epson are also likely to include electronic chips on the cartridge body that code them to the printer and prohibit you from using less expensive third-party cartridges in their place. This is done to prevent you from trying to take your repeat ink business elsewhere.
Despite this, you at least get the amount of ink you pay for when you purchase one of these fake cartridges, right? However, it now seems that even this may not be the case. An ink cartridge gets disassembled in a really eye-opening Fstoppers exposé to reveal how much ink is actually inside.
The cartridge in question is made of opaque black plastic, which could be a cause for worry because it conceals the ink (or lack thereof) within. This cartridge's advertised ink capacity is 11.9 milliliters. Given how much the cartridge probably costs, it is already a disgracefully tiny amount, but when the casing is cracked open, not a single drop of ink leaks out. Instead, two pieces of foam, each softly and only partially covered in ink, fill the entire inside space. Only a tiny drop of foam is released when it is squeezed.
And don't believe that this was one of those "sample" cartridges that came with the printer and only had enough ink to start it up. No, this was a 'XL' cartridge with a huge capacity.
We already knew that printer ink was a rip-off, but it now seems clear that it's a very obvious one. So please, please, resist the temptation of an inexpensive inkjet printer. Spend more up front on a printer that uses refillable ink tanks, like an Epson EcoTank or a Canon MegaTank. They may not be inexpensive, but at least you get what you pay for. As an alternative, think about using one of the top online photo printing services.