Peripheral Visions

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Beware of Counterfeit Toner Cartridges – How to Keep Your Printer Safe

In recent years, printer supply manufacturers including Xerox, Canon, and Lexmark have been battling the increased illegal distribution of counterfeit toner cartridges throughout the United States. A counterfeit toner cartridge can be defined as a toner cartridge which appears to be manufactured by a major brand (Xerox, HP, Oki, Canon, Lexmark etc) and carries the logos, packaging, and other features that may lead the end user to believe it is an actual Genuine OEM toner cartridge when in reality the toner has an unknown, unauthorized manufacturer that in most cases does not comply with today’s printing compliance standards. Using these unauthorized and untested toners can damage your printer and will not last as long or print as clear as using Genuine and / or Quality Compatible toner cartridges.

In 2004, Xerox was able to work with customs officials from multiple countries to seize more than 7,200 counterfeit toner cartridges claiming to be Genuine Xerox toner cartridges for the Xerox Phaser 780. The estimated value of these busts was worth well over $1.3 million.

counterfeit toner cartridges

counterfeit toner cartridges

“Hundreds of thousands of illegal products, worth millions of dollars, are removed from commerce each year,” said Bill Duffy, president and chief executive officer of the Imaging Supplies Coalition, a nonprofit trade association. “This is a problem that faces the entire printing industry, and is something all manufacturers must remain vigilant in fighting to help prevent damage to the ultimate victim – the customer.” The Imaging Supplies Coalition is a non-profit trade association comprised of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of consumable imaging supplies (ribbons, toner, inks, cartridges, etc.) and equipment that have joined together to protect their customers by combating illegal activities in the Imaging Supplies Industry. The ISC currently has members including Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Okidata, Samsung, Toshiba, and Xerox.

Lexmark was also successful in finding thousands of counterfeit Lexmark toner cartridges and filed suit against a New York based company named Finetone who were allegedly importing and distributing counterfeit Lexmark toner cartridges. The cartridges and packaging carried unauthorized reproductions of Lexmark’s trademarks.

In 2005, Canon conducted a civil raid of a US distributor who was engaging in the sale of counterfeit Canon toners. Canon was able to seize thousands of the counterfeit Canon supplies and the distributor has since agreed to no longer sell these types of supplies and also had to pay damages to Canon for the numerous violations. Canon encourages customers to buy Canon toner from authorized Canon dealers or distributors.

HP has taken the battle to the web and has released several informative and somewhat entertaining videos regarding the topic of counterfeit HP toner cartridges. Also, between 2005 to 2008, HP has conducted 4,620 investigations in 55 countries, resulting in 3,528 enforcement actions conducted by law enforcement officials where more than $795 million worth of counterfeit supplies products have been seized, including more than 8 million counterfeit ink cartridges and more than six million counterfeit toner cartridges – a total of more than 15 million counterfeit pieces. HP also has a great information page that will walk you through the steps on verifying that you have purchased a true Genuine HP Toner or HP Ink cartridge – click here to view the steps.

Counterfeit Product Defense (according to ISC)

“How can I tell if the product I buy is counterfeit”?
Due to the technology now available to the counterfeiters it can be difficult to distinguish counterfeit products from genuine.  You should pay close attention to the 5 P’s which are discussed below.

1. Person:  The ISC strongly encourages you to purchase imaging supplies from the OEM or one of their authorized resellers (such as The Supplies Guys :) ). This is the one best thing you can do to be sure you are buying genuine merchandise.
2. Price:  If the purchase price of the OEM product is substantially under the market price or looks like a deal that is too good to be true the product may not be legitimate. The ISC advises you to be very cautious with these situations.
3. Place:  Be cautious if the manner or place of the offer is different from the normal process of business or consumer transactions.
4. Packaging:  Be observant for any deviation in color, materials quality, spelling errors in the packaging. Many OEM’s have a product authentication hologram or color shift label on the packaging to assist in verification. Familiarize yourself with those used by your brand of choice and check for them.
5. Performance:  If you notice any significant variation in the performance of the product from previous experience or obvious defects in quality such as odor or leakage, the product may not be genuine.

Consumers who believe they may have purchased counterfeit imaging products can contact the ISC at (859) 278-3032 or visit www.isc-inc.org.

One way to be certain that you are not buying counterfeit ink or toner cartridges is to always buy from The Supplies Guys :) We only sell the highest quality Genuine OEM and Compatible ink and toner cartridges – and all of our products carry a 100% quality and satisfaction guarantee!

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