So you bought a new printer!

So you bought a new printer which is great. So what were the criteria for choosing the manufacturer and model of the printer that you purchased? Was your choice considered based on the specification, your application need, ease of use, economical printing or was it based on price? We have all seen the special offers at the supermarket, on the high street or online and we all find such offers tempting.

We are constantly amazed at some of the special prices offers for new printers by those large retailers, PC World, Argos and Tesco to name but a few. What amazes us, even more, is that people buy them on the spur of the moment thinking that they are getting great value for money. On the face of it, we can see how that can appear so. We buy many printers for on-sale and we cannot buy the models we buy at the prices being offered by the large retailers and certain on-line retailers.

By the way, you made the purchase on impulse based on the special price offer, which would indicate that like most people your choices can be influenced by price and quite rightly so. Did you check the ink cartridge options that were available and the replacement prices before you made your purchase? You have an i-pad and an android pad so you want the printer to print from one or both of these mobile devices and from your phone would be great too! Did you check that the printer is “air print” compatible, mobile device compatible, wireless, duplex, A3? We could go on asking questions that should be asked before a printer is purchased and that is owing to printers being very technical pieces of kit nowadays with many features that a lot of people require to suit their lifestyles.

We see the disappointment and frustration when a customer comes along to ask us why the printer that they had just purchased from a big retailer will not work properly and why it will just not do some of the things that they thought and in some instances were told, that the printer would do. Some of the features like “mobile device” and “air print” are big issues and are very important to have in today’s fast paced world. Because a printer is wireless, it does not mean that it will print from mobile devices.

When it comes to ink cartridge options and replacement cartridge costs the customers disappointment and frustration can turn into astonishment and anger owing to the cost of replacement cartridges for their printer model. When we advise that we have no cartridge options available other than the manufacturer’s original cartridges at high costs, misguided anger is sometimes directed at us!

The reason that no other cartridge options are available is owing to the fact that most special offers by the big retailers are based on new model introductions. Even special offers on existing models can be introduced and governed by a new printer “firmware” release by the manufacturers which again restricts replacement cartridge options to manufacturers original cartridges, which again creates an expensive replacement cartridge cost. Maybe we are beginning to see a pattern emerging here.

“Firmware” is programming that’s written to the read-only memory (ROM) of a printer. Firmware is installed at the time of manufacturing and is used to run user programs giving functionality on the device. Without firmware, the printer could not communicate with computers or other devices and it would not be able to perform a single function. The chips installed on the ink cartridges communicate with the printer through the printers “firmware” for recognition and ink droplet count that shows ink levels per cartridge.

When a manufacturer upgrades firmware on a range of printers, upgraded ink cartridge chips are required to communicate with the new firmware. This is a very effective method that manufacturers can use to restrict cartridge options for printer models and in doing this, only manufacturers original cartridges at high costs can be used in the short term, and sometimes in the medium term.

It is the case that all manufacturers of compatible and refillable ink cartridges are constantly playing catch up with the printer manufacturer’s latest models and latest firmware changes in that they constantly need to update and develop new cartridge chips to suit these printers. One could be forgiven for thinking that this is a deliberate ploy by printer manufacturers to ensure increases in cartridge sales by introducing new models and by changing the firmware. Indeed some new model printers are simply the same printer with new version firmware and a re-badged model.

The printer manufacturers are well aware of the catch up required by compatible cartridge suppliers and cleverly use the “new model” and “new firmware” introductions to hit the markets hard with special offers to the public, normally price incentives is the ploy. They know that they will make good any price reductions they give on the printers by increased ink cartridge sales revenue and profits. “Beware strangers bearing gifts” printer manufacturers are very big businesses and it goes without saying that they are not stupid, but they are strangers!

If you were induced into buying a new printer on impulse owing to incentivised pricing, why then can you be surprised that it may not do exactly what you would want it to do in terms of the lack of onboard features? If you did not check out the cost of replacement ink cartridges and the choices and options available, why be surprised that you have no choice other than high-cost manufacturers originals? Given this, why give cartridge suppliers like ourselves a hard time. It was your choice to buy the printer!

We sell many printers too many customers into many applications ranging from, cake printing, mug printing, craft printing, and giclee printing and so on. Our sales are always based on customer’s applications and cost criteria and we pride ourselves in getting it right. We guarantee that any printer model that we sell into any application will always allow customers a choice of media options and ink cartridges and type options, from low-cost fade resistant inks to the high-cost dye sublimation inks. We understand the “value for money” concept and the need to ask the right questions to ensure a value for money solution.

We have often specified a printer model based on an application and what a customer wants the printer to do, only to be told that they believe that they can get a similar printer elsewhere cheaper. We always give the best price that we can and always accept that it is the customer’s prerogative to buy elsewhere (large retailers) if they choose to. Then the fun starts, the only choices of ink cartridges available are, you guessed it, manufacturers original cartridges. Ouch! Prompts the saying “that if something looks too good to be true, then it normally is”

What actually prompted this article is that after we invested time to specify a model range at no charge, our astonishment at how the customer thinks it is our fault that after they chose to buy a printer elsewhere for a cheaper deal, they cannot get low-cost cartridges for the model that they actually purchased. How utterly absurd is that and yes, they were told to do one! This happens very often.

There is a very big difference between us and the cheapo stack em high box shifters and that is, that we actually know what we are talking about which is becoming increasingly unique in the printer and media sales industry. Another difference is that we guarantee that any printer model that we sell will allow the customer choices in terms of the ink cartridges and media that they can choose to use. We achieve this through careful printer model selection and investing time and money in extensive testing of cartridges to printer compatibility, as well as application functionality.

The large retailers on the high street and on-line do not test printers or cartridges, they simply buy the products in, stack em high and then sell them for a price. Try discussing dye sublimation printing or edible printing with these retailers!

The moral of this story is when you next want to purchase a new printer, talk to a company that offers sales advice and after sales service. Unlike solicitors who charge you to talk to them, we do not, we simply offer advice in the hope that you will buy from us. Do not compromise on a printer that suits your needs and never buy simply on a price, good offer or not, as it will always end in tears.

Always talk to a company like ourselves who know their stuff, and if you then choose to buy elsewhere that’s o/k but at least do due diligence in terms of ink cartridge and media costs. Also stop having a go at us low paid printer, media, and cartridge sales people when you get it wrong and the great sales offer turns out not to be so great
On a light-hearted note, I would add that sometimes we have a smile to ourselves at the expense of a customer who chose to go elsewhere and who then finds out that his or her replacement cartridges are going to cost them more than they paid for the printer. No that’s not right; occasionally we have a good laugh! lol.

We would make a couple of points clear as follows.

We do have sympathy for printer manufacturers who invest many millions of pounds in product research and development in order to create fantastic hi-tech products that we all love to use. They often sell printers at a loss, intending to make back the loss by selling ink cartridges at high prices. Take a look at the price of some of the ink cartridges being offered on certain internet sites, 6 sets (24 cartridges) of some cartridges for £7.00 delivered!! No wonder the printer manufacturers get frustrated and elect to sell special offers to get exclusive cartridge sales for a while.

To those that readily say that the printer manufacturers are ripping us all off, no not really. Perhaps the over cheap pricing of ink cartridges is what is causing the real damage.

As a company, it is our position that customers should have choices in terms of the consumables that they purchase. To this end, we offer manufacturers branded, compatible and refillable ink cartridges. We also offer choices in terms of the inks that can be used in refillable cartridges from edible inks to high-quality fade resistant archival inks. Not all bottled ink is the same which is a very difficult point to get over to customers. Some of the inks offered on some of the sites are nothing more than coloured water that vaguely resembles the correct colours.

Whilst these low-cost inks will print a colour on the paper, the colours are not accurate to the intended colours and the inks will fade very quickly. Some of these low-cost inks will block your printer heads very quickly also. What is the point of using an ink that damages your print heads when you print and when what you print fades away in months. We would always recommend that you use a good quality ink that will not block print heads, that is colour matched and which will resist fading, Archival inks. Using these inks makes sense.

Another consideration that we would make in selecting ink cartridges is environmental. We really cannot see that throwing away so much plastic (the empty cartridge) is a good idea for the environment; in fact, given the time it takes the cartridge to degrade, it’s a very bad idea. Look at the amount of materials and work that goes into an ink cartridge. Refillable cartridges overcome these concerns and make sense. Using refillable cartridges with archival inks makes total sense. This choice allows for the use of colour profiles, which is colour correcting in simple terms, which gives professional standard printing.

Between the view that cheapest is best that some customers take and the purist view that manufacturers originals are best for other customers, must lie where the majority of us should look and that is for choice and it is also for value for money, by not buying the cheapest and not buying the most expensive. Refillable cartridges with archival ink are neither the cheapest nor are they the most expensive!

Guys, its either that or crayons!







Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.