back to article US customers kick up class-action stink over Epson's kyboshing of third-party ink

Epson is facing a class-action suit from disgruntled US punters sick of being told what sort of ink cartridges to put in their machines. Of course it is a cliché of printers that they send dismal warnings of imminent destruction if owners dare to go with cartridges bought from anywhere but the machine's manufacturer. But the …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    They should do as my dad does - get a cheap printer from the supermarket. When the ink runs out, chuck it out and get another. They're normally cheaper than getting official refill cartridges. And yes, not environmentally friendly but when you're on a pension, every penny counts.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      cheap printer from the supermarket

      Unfortunately these are often sold with ''starter'' cartridges that are only 1/4 full.

      Hardware vendors increasingly view what they sell as a means to perpetual income, either by high prices consumables or selling data that they exfiltrate.

      1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

        Re: cheap printer from the supermarket

        @alain Williams

        Don't forget the "standard" cartridges report they are nearly empty well before you get down to the levels provided in a "full" starter cartridge.

      2. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: cheap printer from the supermarket

        Miguel: Both?

        Tulio: Both.

        Miguel and Tulio: Both.

        Miguel: Both is good.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: cheap printer from the supermarket

          ... Apparently, the downvote was not from a fan of "The Road to El Dorado", from which that meme originated from. *shrugs*

    2. The Dogs Meevonks

      Sadly that's been perfectly viable and cost effective way to do it for a very long time.

      However, I switched my mum onto a cheap £30 HP printer and their instant ink subscription. It costs her £1.99 a month and they supply you with ink and replace as needed. It gives you up to 50 pages of anything you like each month... So you could print 50 A4 pictures on glossy photo paper if you liked.

      Not bad for less than 4p per page.

    3. John 104

      If every penny counts, buy a laser printer. Cost per page is 1-3 pennies vs .25 for ink jet.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Indeed, and replacement cartridges are not priced following the gold standard.

        When I got fed up with inkjet printers that could barely last one full cartridge, endlessly needing head cleaning and whatnot, I got a B&W laser printer and I've never been happier. Pages are printed in mere seconds, quality is excellent and a toner cartridge lasts hundreds of pages (of text, obviously).

        One day, I just might shell out for a color laser printer, but for now I have no need of that.

        In any case, inkjets are for suckers.

        1. Phil 54

          Do your research before buying a colour laser printer; my Lexmark uses the colour toner even when printing black and white images, and won't print in black-only if one of the colour cartridges is empty*.

          *I eventually found the setting that disables this but only after buying a whole set of cartridges

          1. MrReynolds2U

            My HP Colour laser has similar (by) design flaws. Their consumables are extortionate but thankfully generics are easily (and cheaply) obtained.

            Often had to unscrew and reset the toner level indicator on Brother toners which reported empty but still had plenty of powder left. Other than that, would recommend for SOHO uses*

            Been stung by Canon and Lexmark colour lasers before so would never recommend them.

            *unless you're using in actual Soho... because the contrast isn't great ;)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " I got a B&W laser printer"

          Mine will only print in "B", where do you get the "W" ink?

          1. overunder Bronze badge

            "Mine will only print in "B"

            Mine only prints in "K", where'd you get the "B".

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Mine will only print in "B", where do you get the "W" ink?"

            You jest but there was a printer that did have white ink. People making water slide decals needed that option since the underlying color wasn't always white. Maybe it was too specialist to keep on the market. I can't remember the brand so it might still be available for all of me.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "In any case, inkjets are for suckers."

          If you are making photos, inkjets are great. If you are just printing text, a laser is much cheaper. I have both and use them appropriately. What I don't like is that Epson sells bulk ink for their larger systems, but the cartridges in the smaller printers time out and can't be refilled. I'd rather have the OEM ink. The quality is far more consistent. Why can't I buy Epson bulk ink and refill my own cartridges? ( actually, I have a chip resetter and do just that but I'd rather have it be official). For those than fear a mess, office supply stores could do the refills with OEM ink and everybody's happy. I'm sure it would be much easier for office supply stores to have bulk ink and a supply of empty cartridges that get filled on demand rather than having a whole aisle of product. Or, the most popular sizes are on the pegboard and the slower moving/older carts are by in-store order.

          If you have kids, lock up the inkjet. A cheap laser printer is fine for school work and messing about.

    4. Richard Cranium

      Surely better to try _compatible_ cartridges or try refilling the OEM cartridges rather than just go straight for a new printer.

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    I've never understood the attraction of fake ink cartridges.

    1) The quality of the ink is invariably crap and the output generated equally so.

    2) Being crap the ink tends to gum up the cleaning system rather quickly, writing off the printer.

    3) They're not that much cheaper, if you shop around for the decent stuff.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Third party ink for Epson Workforce Pros is half the price of the cheapest OEM ink and has never gummed up my printer or produced worse output. But I am in the UK; perhaps it is different in the US.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      There are good 3rd party inks and bad ones. Depends where and what you buy. Hp, Epson & C. have to understand the era of easy money selling inks is over - once it could have been more difficult to find good 3rd party inks, now it's pretty easy, so they have no other chance but lowering prices.

      The only printer I buy original inks is my Canon Pixma Pro photo printer. The paper is quite expensive as well, and I want to avoid the need to re-profile the ink/paper combination every time. But that's a specific use where costs are not the main issue, otherwise I would have photos printed at a cheap lab.

    3. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      Neither defending nor promoting either position, but ~10 years ago I was involved for a large client in a test of original Lexmark toner cartridges against two proposed third party cartridges.

      Same printer model, same paper supplier, same test document set.

      The Lexmark originals produced more than twice as many pages as the other two, and jammed significantly less. The print quality was also deemed better on the originals however that wasn't a major concern as the prints were generally for internal consumption only.

      Overall cost in the test was cheapest with the originals Lexmark cartridges, which proved to be true after the annual costs were compared on switching from the third party to originals across the estate.

      Everyone would need to undertake their own test (or find a trusted source - Which? perhaps?)

      1. Adair

        Washout your keyboard for mentioning the vile 'L******'! 'Skidmark' would be more appropriate.

        I vowed never to touch their products again after being on the receiving end of their cynical and abusive treatment of customers. Here, from 2009, are my two main complaints (re a C530dn printer):

        1. Utterly cynical and abusive treatment of the customer; toner cartridges (via integral chip), will 'time out' regardless of how much toner has been used. Printer becomes a paper weight until cartridge (or chip), is replaced;

        2. In 2009 Lexmark increased toner cartridge prices by 30-40%. Toner now >£100, so that's >£400 to replace all toners, which don't have a particularly long life anyway (not counting the 'time out' feature).

        Trust, once lost, is extremely difficult to recover.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          But tell us how you feel. :)

          Lexmarks are also a pain in the nethers to repair or service, even if you have the official tech manual and appropriate tools in front of you.

          I'd replace my failing hp B&W laser MFP with a color laser model, but really the only color printing I do is photos anymore; I'd have to take a serious gander at what kind of quality output the candidates are capable of.

      2. vgrig_us

        @velv one - a lot changed in 10 years. Two - as I recall original Lexmark toner cartridges were always cheaper (per page) than say hp (biggest reason for choosing Lexmark).

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Everyone would need to undertake their own test (or find a trusted source - Which? perhaps?)"

        Trusted is the operative word. Most 3rd party ink/toner is sold under varying brands that mostly won't show up on a web search except for stores advertising it. It could be fine today and complete rubbish in six months when you need a new one as those companies will change suppliers to save two dimes.

        I keep an eBay search going for OEM HP toner for my laser printer. I keep a cartridge or two on hand if I find them going cheap. I don't think I've ever had to pay full price. If a company's printer goes out they will flog off any leftover new cartridges (or somebody will take them since they don't fit anything in the office). I think the last one I bought was around a tenner. The nice thing about toner is there really isn't a sell-by date if it's left in its wrapper.

    4. AJ MacLeod

      @TeeCee

      The attraction for me personally (with a Brother all-in-one inkjet) and the third party cartridges I use is this:

      1) The quality of the ink is exactly the same as the official Brother stuff as far as I can tell (which is what matters.)

      2) The printer, despite being used less often than is good for an inkjet, has never gummed up, even slightly.

      3) I'm not sure what your definition of "much" is, but when the official cartridges cost £53 for a colour pack and the third party cost less than £4.10, I'd say you couldn't possibly be more wrong.

      Oh - one last point, the third party cartridges seem (visually/weight) to contain considerably more ink than the official ones and last what seems like double the time, although I haven't actual figures to put on it.

    5. heyrick Silver badge

      Ran my old Brother for years on clone ink, that was literally a tenner for an envelope stuffed with cartridges. Print quality seemed more or less the same as original ink (I was printing on plain paper) at a fraction of the cost.

    6. Lazlo Woodbine

      I can buy two complete sets of ink for my Epson Workforce for around the price of a single black cartridge from Epson.

      I've been doing so for over 20 years for several Epson printers and I've never had one break from a dodgy cartridge, and for my purposes the print quality is absolutely fine.

      If i want a print to frame I wouldn't get it via an ink jet printer anyway, I'd order from a professional print service

    7. Lazlo Woodbine

      Oh yes, and my compatibles contain around 20% more ink than Epson originals...

    8. WolfFan Silver badge

      1) The quality of the ink is invariably crap and the output generated equally so.

      I am currently using 3rd-party ink in several Epson WF class MFDs. In each case the Epson device moaned about using the ink and warned that I'd be voiding the warranty. As the WF class MFDs in question were years out of warranty, I didn't care. The ink gave results which ranged from good enough to indistinguishable from the results given by actual Epson ink.

      2) Being crap the ink tends to gum up the cleaning system rather quickly, writing off the printer.

      None of the Epson WF class MFDs in which I placed 3rd-party ink have 'gummed up'. Some of them are on their third round of 3rd-party ink cartridges, at a cost of less than one round of Official Epson cartridges. If they gum up tomorrow, I will still have saved enough on not buying Epson ink to buy new inkjets. From Brother. If they hold off for a little longer, I'll have saved enough to buy new _colour lasers_ from Brother, just from the price differential between Epson-rape-you-up-the-ass cartridges and a certain specialty store which does nothing but supply 3rd-party ink and toner and which I have used for years and which has never sold me ink which 'gums up' the printer.

      3) They're not that much cheaper, if you shop around for the decent stuff.

      Are you insane? The WF MFDs use Epson 126 and 127 cartridges. A two-pack of Epson 126 black cartridges is $52 at Amazon; a one pack is $28. A pack of Epson 126 cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges is $56 at Amazon. Epson black 127 is $40 at Amazon; that's the 'high capacity' cartridge which has 'double the capacity'. Epson cyan/magenta/yellow 127 at Amazon is $72. 3rd-party 127 black is $18, cyan/magenta/yellow is $24. Individual Epson cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges 126 are available for $24 each; 127 cartridges are, or were, I can't find them anymore, $32 each. I can get the 'high capacity' 3rd-party for less than half the price of the low capacity Original Epson ink.

      Epson can bite me.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For my Brother MFC240C:

      1) I haven't noticed a quality difference between aftermarket and OEM ink.

      2) Printer has been running for years on aftermarket ink.

      3) Aftermarket cartridges are $12 for 12-pack on Amazon, vs $15 apiece for OEM.

  3. gskr

    Moved away from inkjet printers a couple of years ago, and got a cheapish dell colour laser printer, that is compatible with cheap non-OEM toner.

    Never looked back!

    No more clogged print heads, 3rd-party toner is dirt cheap, and cartridges last ages. If I need a high quality photo print I'll just go to boots or something, but for everything else it works perfectly.

    1. KLane

      Xerox 6027

      I have had very good results with this one, and it has no problem with alternate toner cartridges, other than a 'non-genuine toner' message displayed only on power-up. The advanced settings also make it easy to get the best quality on photo prints as well.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another thing they should be chased for

    Not supporting printers for a reasonable amount of time - the service life of a decent printer can be 10+ years, but updates and support often stop well before that.

    I've got a Samsung CLX-6260 that is running the latest version of the firmware that was made available by Samsung, who sold their printer business to HP a few years ago (2016?). AirPrint will not print double-sided with Catalina, so I went to check for firmware updates - on the HP site, of course. There is a much more recent one there, but it gets "Invalid firmware" when I try to install it (tried different ways to upload, re-downloading, etc.).

    I then tried to contact "support" and had to enter the printer make and serial number "to validate my request". All I got was a message telling me the serial number is not valid (copy/paste from the web GUI, checked against the one on the label), so I get no contact details shown - which means I can't even report the problem with the website not accepting the serial number!

    Luckily, I can get the printer to work if I don't use AirPrint, but that's not ideal as the Samsung driver isn't as well integrated.

    1. poohbear

      Re: Another thing they should be chased for

      I had one of these ... it developed the "stuck at boot logo on display" problem. The printer still worked and scanned, but you could not control it via the control panel.

      Assorted "hints and tips" from the net worked once but not when the problem resurfaced.

      I eventually dumped it (reluctantly, since the toners were all still quite full...) and bought a Brother.

      The appointed service centre wanted about £50 just to tell me what was wrong ...

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Another thing they should be chased for

      Have you looked at GIMP print? I have an old HP laserjet with jet direct box to get it on the home LAN (ethernet to the modem). GPMP gives me the full HP experience. Granted it doesn’t have bells and whistles but you can look and try.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Another thing they should be chased for

      The other side of the coin is my printer is so old Epson have not bothered to make a firmware downgrade for it. (GPL drivers last for decades.)

    4. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Another thing they should be chased for

      I bought a Samsung because it was not an HP. Not happy when they sold to HP. An OEM toner now costs more then I payed for the printer new. I'm sure they think I'll just buy a new HP printer when the current toner is done. LOL no.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ink bottles

    We have an EPSON that has refillable tanks.

    The unit was reasonable expensive but the ink last years and a bottle costs very little.

    So far, cheaper than cartridges.

    1. 82412

      Re: Ink bottles

      Not really, what you have is refillable tanks attached to a printer which is only worth about 25% of the price you paid for it. Pathetically slow, poor quality, and it will only make economic sense in the unlikely event that it lasts for several years without falling apart.

      1. ExampleOne

        Re: Ink bottles

        Or the standard cartridge ink jets are sold at a 75% discount and the profits are made later on the ink cartridges. I think it’s called a loss-leader...

  6. Valerion

    Another reason to avoid expensive original ink

    Is that the printer will invariably break before you've finished the damn cartridge and you're left with ink you can't use, because of course the new printer won't take the same type.

  7. Sven Coenye

    May not be just 3rd party ink

    There are indications printers also reject genuine but out-of-region Epson cartridges. (Going by the eBay/Amazon comments of US based users of non-retail packaged cartridges of Asian origin. Of course, those may be fakes, but the one set I did end up with looked pretty convincing. No idea if they worked or not as I ended up returning them because the seller had misrepresented them as regular retail items.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 years down the line...

    Epson settles for USD 100M payout, hurrah! Of which: 1.5M in epson in cartridge discount vouchers to be distributed among 1M affected customers. Yet another victory for justice. The End.

  9. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Get a laser

    Laser printers have been so cheap for so long now that I don't know why anyone would buy an inkjet printer. The last injets I ever owned were HP and Epson and they were all utterly shite. The Epson in particular - print heads bunged up and basically was crap. And this was before non-OEM inks were widely available so I always used the OEM ones.

    Even a cheap laser (I have a Canon ...or is it a Brother? can't remember) is far more reliable and far cheaper to run than any inkjet.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Get a laser

      >I don't know why anyone would buy an inkjet printer.

      Photos

      I don't know why anyone would buy a color laser- just to have that email printed out in with the address in blue font?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a laser

        I need to be able to give an up-vote and a down-vote here:

        1) Up-vote for using ink-jet for photos;

        2) Down-vote as colour lasers are great for many other colour uses (printing e-mails is not often one of them).

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Get a laser

          >2) Down-vote as colour lasers are great for many other colour uses

          Handouts of Powerpoint slides - with coloured backgrounds

          Extra points if the presentation is about saving money or being green

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Get a laser

        "Photos"

        No.

        Water soluble ink that will colour shift* after a couple of years (much less if in daylight)? No, if I want photos I go to one of those €0,25 a pop machines.

        *- this is with original inks, not clones, though the problem doesn't seem to happen with stuff printed on regular A4, so it might be an interaction between the ink and the photo paper. Either way, inkjets for photos... Uh... Nope.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "Water soluble ink that will colour shift* after a couple of years"

          No. High-end photo printers which use pigment inks on photo papers have inks that are much more steadfast that those used in low-end printers (and especially refillable ones). Today chemical prints became rarer, even high-end images are printed with inkjet printers.

          If you don't believe me, read here:

          http://wilhelm-research.com/

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Get a laser

          "Water soluble ink that will colour shift* after a couple of years (much less if in daylight)? No, if I want photos I go to one of those €0,25 a pop machines."

          On cheap printers, you are correct. If you are buying a higher end "photo" printer and archive quality ink to go with it, the prints will last a long time. I've got load of prints in my house I've printed myself and they still look great after many years.

      3. Electronics'R'Us Bronze badge
        Go

        Re: Get a laser

        My other half used to sell jams and such at markets that were often in the open; inkjet printed labels when rained on take on a look of abstract art (or perhaps a 4 year old's doodling pad). The labels would have various colours and shapes (indicative of what was in the jar) which really needs colours.

        I picked up a HP colour laserjet for about £100 a few years ago (from a now defunct chain of office stores) and those labels do not run when inadvertently rained on.

        The toners are a bit expensive, but they last a lot longer than any inkjet cartridges I have ever used.

        I also use it to print out physical invoices when necessary (not often, but some customers request it) and it is nice to be able to put the company logo (at least) in colour.

    2. Giles C

      Re: Get a laser

      Well one reason (for me) is that I print a club newsletter, and you can’t put self seal envelopes through a laser printer. Well you can if you want to spend a couple of hours trying to unstick the fuser assembly.

      I also have a canon pro for photo work, and an old hp 4350 for printing the newsletter itself.

      Yes I do own three printers.....

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Get a laser

        "Yes I do own three printers....."

        I *own* eight or nine.

        I use two, a cheap HP inkjet for basic colour prints, and a little Samsung laser for running off stuff from PDFs and the like that's cheap and quick with laser, would take an eternity with an inkjet (last week, Ts&Cs of house insurance, sixty pages, took less than five minutes to print it via WiFi from my phone).

  10. The Dogs Meevonks

    Swings and roundabouts

    I've had both good and bad experiences with 3rd party inks... so it goes both ways. Had an old Epson £300+ printer that got fudged up with blocked heads after a series of power outages (8 outages inside an hour, that fried some other equipment) that meant the heads never parked/cleaned properly and basically got gummed up.. cleaning them didn't work.

    Insurance replaced that one thankfully as it was so expensive back in the mid 2000's along with a new surround amp and alarm clock (all plugged into the non surged protected socket (PC was thankfully).

    I'm currently using a WF2660 with 3rd party inks and haven't noticed any issues so far... I paid around £50 for that on sale and Epson inks (4 carts) would cost close to that price each time, whilst alternatives are £10.

    My mum's old printer died after failing to maintain it properly... So we got her a cheap £30 HP printer and signed her up to their instant ink... it costs her £1.99 a month for 50 pages of anything she likes... which is more than enough and allows her to print pics if she wants... £24 a year for ink is fine with her and me.

    If Epson did something similar for the same price... I'd probably use it myself. Until then... 3rd party inks every time. Ink is not worth more than the most expensive champagnes, it's nothing more than a scam and why they sell printers so cheaply.

  11. John 104

    Fuck Epson

    My story...

    Bought a very nice Epson scanner/color printer many years ago. It printed beautiful color on glossy stock. It really was impressive.

    Until the starter cartridges ran out. Out of cyan? No worries, I'll just print my normal documents until I replace the cartr-sorry, you can't print black and white because the cyan is out. Oh, and that scanner that doesn't even use ink to perform its function? Yeah, I'm afraid we are going to disable that too, so that you have to buy cartridges. Grrr.

    Went out, bought a full spread of cartridges, Epson brand. Ran them for about 2 months of light printing and they ran dry. It was around $150 or so to do.

    Fool my once...

    Went out and bought a color HP laser jet for around $300. Lasted me a decade and I bought replacement toner once or twice. It finally bought the farm and I bought another HP. Been running that for many years as well.

    What I'm surprised is that they are allowed to do this after the Lexmark lawsuit years back. That turned out in the consumers favor, making it illegal to disable printers when third parties ink is used.

    1. Rustbucket

      Re: Fuck Epson

      You probably could still print B&W when the cyan cartridge ran out, providing the printer was a four or more cartridge system. The trick is to check the B&W option in the printer driver UI instead of colour, though of course they don't tell you about that.

    2. Dinanziame

      Re: Fuck Epson

      I don't think that's a rare experience:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/d2bwot/printers/

  12. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Epson refused to comment. ®

    Epson was *trying* to reply, but someone put 3rd-party cartridges in the office printer, and they couldn't print out the response...

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Maybe I am just lucky, but I have a 15 year old £50 Epson Stylus Inkjet that I have always used with 3rd party carts. It gets used nearly everyday and shows no sign of dying.

    I rarely print photos on it though just text documents, but happy enough with the print quality and can get 3 full sets of ink carts for about a tenner.

  14. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Joke

    DotMatrix FTW!

    I'm still using the original black ink ribbon from the dawn of time. The print quality is awesome!

    *The blind guy explodes in sarcasm*

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: DotMatrix FTW!

      We have a winner!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DotMatrix FTW!

        Oh no not dot matrix, just wait till the solenoids overheat and you need a new print-head. I'm sticking with the daisy-wheel.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brother printers?? Inkjet VS laser?

    On the whole the responses here are negative about most brands. I don't think there are any (negative) relating to Brother but a couple are quite positive, can we make inferences from that? My own experience is an inexpensive Brother (inkjet) terminally failed (power supply) after 4 years - not unduly upset about that, always used 3rd party inks.

    That was wife's printer. Last year, my 14 year old Dell (rebranded Lexmark?) colour laser (third party cartridges) spewed toner all over itself so off to recycling. At that point the Brother had done well for 3 years so I bought myself a bigger heavy duty Brother inkjet. Super fast, double-sided print, ADF scanner, A3 print & scan and low cost per page even with OEM ink (high capacity cartridges). The only issue so far is that a set of OEM inks costs as much as the printer. Being a tight bastard better to pay a third of the price for compatibles. Also it is quite big, not great if space is limited.

    As for colour laser VS inkjet, the decision 15 years ago was driven by the low cost per page and the fact that ink didn't run if the paper got wet (I use it a lot to print maps for hiking). Photo prints were not great but adequate.

    This time the decision was based on the low up-front cost of the hardware; no warm-up time plus fast printing so when I press print the output is there in a few seconds; better photo prints (I put my hiking maps in a plastic folder to protect from rain); competitive cost per page (not bad even if I use OEM inks).

    Does that mean Brother printers are the best choice? I don't know, personal experience of two so far is reasonably positive, don't like the failed PSU but after 4 years I'll take that.

    Is my experience typical or relevant? Are there loads of unhappy Brother users who've not shared their experience here yet? Brother market share is smaller (4th after HP,Epson,Canon somewhere around 5-10%) and so under-represented here?

    1. jameswyper

      Re: Brother printers?? Inkjet VS laser?

      Brother are, I think, only brand who still don't chip (at least some of) their laser cartridges to frustrate 3rd-party toner suppliers, relying instead on a mechanical device to count how many pages each cartridge has printed. That can be reset to give the cartridge some more life, and the cartridge itself can often be refilled. See https://www.urefilltoner.co.uk/test-lab-printer-reviews.html.

      Personally I've bought compatibles for my DCP-3510 from Cartridge Save and they have worked (although they are still expensive at £100 ex VAT for a full set); I've successfully reset the page counter on them and will try refilling myself when they next run out.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to work for PC World and the most returned items were their own brand inks, they were shocking and put me off 3rd party inks for life.

    I have seen OK results from others since, but when I last had an inkjet I picked it for photo printing and so ran with OEM only, when the 2nd one died under warranty and the replacement no longer took the same ink I called it a day.

    I am now another of the Brother laser printer owners (in my case a colour laser) and am very happy with it.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Sue away!

    Sue away! Selling a new model that won't accept aftermarket inks? I sure wouldn't buy it, but people can know what they are getting.

    Updating a printer that did accept third party inks to no longer accept them? Nope. Software updates for a physical product like this are to fix bugs and add features, not to remove features. They really owe these people a new printer (if they don't release an update -- VERY QUICKLY -- to make these printers functional again.)

    "Surely better to try _compatible_ cartridges or try refilling the OEM cartridges rather than just go straight for a new printer."

    Nope!! A) Refill? I doubt it. Once these printers go evil and start reading out the chip, they also make sure the cartridge is non-refillable by having it check an estimated ink level off the chip, and refusing to print if the chip says it's empty. B) The OEM cartridges for the last several inkjets I've seen are SO expensive, the cost of 2 sets of cartridges is higher than buying a new inkjet that can take proper cheap cartridges, and multiple sets of cheap cartridges.

    Regarding print quality using the cheap cartridges -- one brand we tried did have substandard quality results. The ones we've gotten after that look just like the OEM quality. On the last few inkjets we've had, neither OEM or aftermarket had problems with jet clogging; (we had a inkjet several years back that had clogging problems, but it happily clogged right up with the OEM cartridges too.)

  18. pctek

    Do your research properly, I hear this all the time, Laser is better.

    No, it's the same. many cheap lasers have expensive toners that do b***** all pages.

    No different to rip off inkjets.

    You have to choose carefully, ink or laser.

    I get 1200 pages for NZ$12 (about 6 pounds) per cartridge.

    Cheap laser a colleague just bought does 3000pages but toner costs NZ$120. Not cheap at all.

  19. HelpfulJohn

    Strangeness in the matrix.

    Once, a few years back, I needed to print a form, I don't remember why but it was something typically UKland government so faxing, emailing and suchlike were obviously ten centuries too futuristic for them. On this day, my printer chose to run out of one of four colours of ink. At the time, the inks came in packs of four cartridges for £70 or more.

    I wandered round the town, found a little known computer peripherals purveyor called "PCWorld", entered the store and found a fully functioning scanner-fax-printer, complete with slightly-full cartridges for £14.

    This machine sits proudly on my desk to this day. It doe not, however, print. The ink boxes dried up through years of non-use and the machine complains that there is no ink. This is a lie as it sloshes around when they are shaken. I've tried the "wet-the-wick" remedies, none worked. Still, I'm relatively happy with the outcome as I now have two dead printers and I didn't spend a fair fraction of a hundred quid to print one form.

    Two dead printers and a fully working scanner.

    As an interesting thing, at about this time, I jestingly mentioned to anyone who brought up the subject that eventually printers would be given away free and the companies would charge only for the inks.

    I present https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk as validation of my unerring accuracy as a visionary. (https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/product_detail/20765/Brother-HL-L3230CDW-Colour-Laser-Printer-1-set-of-IJT-Toners-1-Set-of-Brother- as an example. Free printer, large price for toners.)

    I am sure there are others but I'm far too lazy to bother looking. Maybe if I need to print another form? ,

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