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$8,000-Per-Gallon Printer Ink Leads to Antitrust Lawsuit

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posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 09:25 PM
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$8,000-Per-Gallon Printer Ink Leads to Antitrust Lawsuit


arstechnica.com

A Boston man has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing hardware maker HP and office supply retailer Staples of colluding to inflate the price of printer ink cartridges in violation of federal antitrust law. According to the suit, HP allegedly paid Staples $100 million to refrain from selling inexpensive third-party ink cartridges, although the suit doesn't make it clear how plaintiff Ranjit Bedi arrived at that figure.

For most printer companies, ink is the bread and butter of their business.
(visit the link for the full news article)



[edit on 18/12/07 by Keyhole]




posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 09:25 PM
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I have to admit, I always thought that printer ink prices were tooo high!

But $8,000 Per Gallon!

That's just ridicules!

Why does it cost so much?

Well, now we know, HP and other printer makers have a monopoly going selling ink, and they don't want any other company selling ink for their printers. It's ridiculous for them to think that just because you bought THEIR printer that you should only be able to buy ink for it from them!

I hope they are found in violation of the federal antitrust law.

arstechnica.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 18/12/07 by Keyhole]


apc

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:13 PM
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Now that's funny. Class-action so anyone who can prove they bought an HP ink cartridge will get $4 back. Staples might get punched, but I doubt HP will care.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:32 PM
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So I guess Staples isn't allowed to decide what brands to stock in its own stores.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:39 PM
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Most inks are made from soy beans these days. It's actually cheap. The company's have this stuff made and packaged in China for about 5 cents each and we pay 1000% increase in price. You can see how American companies are using slave labor in China. Most of the people in China make less then $5 a day. It's called greed and it's only going to get worse.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by Johnmike
 


I don't think it is a matter of what brands a store like staples is allowed to stock. It is an issue of the user being forced to buy a specific brand by the manufacturer of the printer. For example, my HP printer can only use 1 type of printer cartridge that is region coded and only fits in my particular printer. I am sure it uses the same ink as all the others, but I have no choice, it is use their cartridge or nothing at all.

The only way to circumvent the system is to go to a re-filler that will charge you half the cost of a new cartridge.


apc

posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 07:23 AM
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with a printer manufacturer designing their printers to only work with their ink cartridges. If someone has a problem with this, don't buy the printer.

But this article tries to blend that issue, as well as the irrelevant cost of the ink, with the true issue of HP bribing Staples not to carry competitor products. If a retailer wishes to voluntarily reject another company from their store shelves, they have every right to do so. It's when they willfully accept a payment in return for eliminating competition that both parties have committed an anti-trust violation and undermined the concept of a free market.



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 07:59 AM
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I think what the problem is, not so much the issue of who is selling the companies ink, but the refill packs that are available.

Some printer cartridges cannot be refilled. There is a chip on them that informs the printer the cartridge is empty. This is used by Canon, other makes I'm not sure about.

From my experience, you cannot refill Canon cartridges and at almost $30 a pop they are not cheap. And what do you do with the cartridge once it's empty? Throw it away or try to find somewhere that accepts it for recycling.

I've never seen anywhere that recycles ink cartridges.

$8000 a gallon. outright daylight robbery.

Ok, the issue may be completely about what HP and Staples have done, but, the cost of ink should also be taken into a factor here as it does seem to be excessively high for what you get.

It does strike me funny that when you run out of black ink, your printer allows the option of using the colour inks to be mixed to make an almost black ink. That, in itself, seems to be an attempt to make you use the colour before you go to buy more black, by which time you'll need colour too.

Yes, you've got the choice to not use the colour as black, but how many people need to print something off quickly who find themselves miles away or lacking in cash to go buy some new black?

Students, in particular, would fall into the cash strapped set. Of course you're going to want to make the most of your cash spent on ink. Even so, these cartridges do not last a long time. Ribbon printers far outstrip ink, yet how many ribbon printers are there readily available to buy for your computer?

The cost of ink to the amount you can print is a very important issue.


apc

posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 08:05 AM
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Perhaps, but it has nothing to do with this anti-trust suit. If you don't like HP's prices, don't buy their products.

All the office supply stores around here give you a few dollars for recycling ink cartridges, by the way.



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 08:49 AM
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There aren't any ink jets using cheap cartridges. It would seem all manufacturers are using the same scheme to make big money on print ink.

Look at the cost of color laser refills. A similar high priced refill situation.



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 09:33 AM
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Same with 'Dell' branded printers. They intend to make up the cost of a 'free printer' included in your purchase by supplying a cheap plastic printer with easily breakable parts and then sock you with the printer cartridges.

They do it by putting a plastic detent inside the printer to block a ridge on the printer cartridge and keep the door from closing. You can remove that flange and use a cheaper cartridge, but the printer will still send a message that you're out of ink.

I very rarely print and in the space of a few months my cartridge is already out of ink. I might print 10 or 20 pages per week!

ISTM we should have cheap, reliable laserjet printers that can easily do color by now. I think they're blocking the technology in favor of a 'disposable' kind of equipment, knowing you'll just go buy another if the price is under $100.


Edit: So anyone have any recommendations for a laserjet printer that's compatible with Vista? (My Lexmark (inkjet-bah) won't work - incompatible with one of the most common printers in the world. What were they thinking?)



[edit on 19-12-2007 by Badge01]



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 09:54 AM
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This is interesting to read.

I've been saying for years that if the public really wants to be outraged at the high cost of something, it should be ink, not gas.



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 11:48 AM
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I am not sure why this is 'news' to anyone. I thought everyone knew that you were subsidizing the purchase cost of your printer with the lifetime of buying overpriced ink.
How else do you think HP, Canon or any of the others can afford to sell you a $70.00 color printer, and then buy $25.00 ink cartridges.

It is the same thing with cellular phones. Like in the case of the iPhone, which is almost like a small computer. You pay $400.00 for the device, but are locking into a contract for at least 2 years of service. Depending on the service plan, you end up paying 2000-3000 dollars to the phone company. Or when you get a 'free' cell phone, its not free, you are paying for it in you 45 dollar a month service contract.

In some ways I hope that this practice will change, and but we would be forced to pay full retail for the original product, but not be locked in to proprietary ink cartridges or service plans.

Yeah, we should be mad. We are getting screwed over...
DocMoreau



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 12:41 PM
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I totally agree with DocMoreau Ive thought for years that the printer manufacturers were making a killing on the price of their Ink catridges. They sell the printers cheap and make the catridges smaller then put a chip in them so you cant refill them useing third party ink refills
then charge a fortune for them.. they are ripping you off and getting away with it ...

Ackers....



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
reply to post by Johnmike
 


I don't think it is a matter of what brands a store like staples is allowed to stock. It is an issue of the user being forced to buy a specific brand by the manufacturer of the printer. For example, my HP printer can only use 1 type of printer cartridge that is region coded and only fits in my particular printer. I am sure it uses the same ink as all the others, but I have no choice, it is use their cartridge or nothing at all.

The only way to circumvent the system is to go to a re-filler that will charge you half the cost of a new cartridge.


I refill my own cartridges. The ink cost me about twenty dollars, and the kit last for a few years.

But getting a "re-filler that will charge you half the cost of a new cartridge," makes that ink only $4,000 a gallon?



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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For a while Wal Mart had a printer for 25$ with ink so it was cheaper to buy a new printer than ink. I had about 6 before I won a nice HP 5500 color on Ebay for 300$ with toner and everything. Been 2 years and finally changed the black toner a few weeks ago it was less than 20$ on Ebay.

mikell



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by SkipShipman
 


I don't know. Even at 4000 dollars a gallon, is it 'worth it'? I mean, its nice to be able to print out hard copies of things from a computer, and it has been used to great effect as a sort of modern Gutenburg Press. But information of real 'value'? I don't know 1 in a hundred sheets? 1 in a thousand...?

Also, how much stuff do we print out in 'color' because the settings on the computer think that it always knows best? I know for a fact that if I don't tell the printer to use b&w grayscale for each new different document, it will print a page of text in 4 color b&w using a bit of color each time to 'create' the black. How much 8000 dollar ink are we wasting with these presets?

It is similar to the VCR clock or any of the 'instant on', 'stand-by' mode electronics we own. I have a Sony Boom box that if it stays plugged in, it continually flashes red, yellow, green leds, and you can even hear a faint 'hiss' of power to the speakers. It makes me want to smash it because of its wastefulness through idiotic design. Sure it looks great, and sounds okay, but why does it need to leech power all the time?

I understand the need for manufacturers to 'stay' in business, so they create these asinine schemes to milk pennies from our pockets, but at some point they have to take some responsibility for the waste their products create. If I had a lawyer on retainer, and money was no object, I would try to create a class action lawsuit against Sony, similar to this one against Ink Cartridge industry. But for now, I deal with the fact that the radio stations fall out of memory every time I unplug it instead of an annoying hiss and a Rastafarian light show.

Don't even get me started about the 'printer standby mode' and how the heat and 'on-demand' mode shortens ink life and wastes electricity... AHHHGGG!

DocMoreau

ps... Does anyone know if there are still good dot matrix printers around, w/usb?

Also, do any of you use one of the newer consumer laser printers? I wonder what toner costs are like. Toner is even more 'proprietary' from what I understand.

pps... how many times have you either been out of ink for something 'important' or print something and find that you have somehow printed 20 copies of crap? I have had both happen, usually the former as the result of the later.



posted on Dec, 19 2007 @ 09:02 PM
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Originally posted by DocMoreau
reply to post by SkipShipman
 

I know for a fact that if I don't tell the printer to use b&w grayscale for each new different document, it will print a page of text in 4 color b&w using a bit of color each time to 'create' the black.

I've never experienced that.



posted on Dec, 20 2007 @ 03:38 AM
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I've had that happen, on my HP Photosmart 3310 if you select gray scale, it defaults to high quality gray scale. Only if you tell it black ink only will it stick only to black.

It's a common method in printing to make the text stick out more and also make the font appear smoother.



posted on Dec, 20 2007 @ 04:02 AM
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Originally posted by DocMoreau

I have a Sony Boom box that if it stays plugged in, it continually flashes red, yellow, green leds, and you can even hear a faint 'hiss' of power to the speakers. It makes me want to smash it because of its wastefulness through idiotic design. Sure it looks great, and sounds okay, but why does it need to leech power all the time?


Why not turn it off at the wall?
If you can't reach the plug, then just pull the cord from the back of the device.



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