The great printer cartridge rip off debate. Is it a moral crime?

David Gibbons (Director of Recycling Times Media) put 5 key questions to Darren Turner (Managing Director of MY Total Office Solutions), in his fight to claim that OEM’s are commiting a printer cartridge moral ‘crime’ against the british consumer.

Q1. What key messages from your campaign have attracted the attention of the public media?

The press have picked up that inkjet cartridges are the most expensive liquids on the planet. Drop for drop they’re more expensive than champagne, vintage port or Chanel No 5. A typical HP cartridge costing £13 contains a measly 4ml of ink—which means it’s more than £3,000 a litre. In contrast, you can buy a bottle of very decent 1995 Dom Perignon champagne for £150.

Q2. You say the OEMs are actually taking other advantages too.There’s more… the OEMs are making it as difficult as possible for consumers to buy cheaper second-hand, recycled and refilled cartridges. In a world of scams, dodgy deals and consumer cons, surely the great printer cartridge rip off is one of the most un-reported.

Yes. Over the past decade the OEMs have reduced the amount of ink inside each cartridge. In 2004, HP’s best-selling cartridge, the HP45, had 42ml of ink and cost £20. It could print, according to HP’s website, 930 pages. Today, one of the same company’s best-selling cartridges has just 5ml and sells for £13. It manages only 200 pages. It proves how greedy the big OEMs have become.

They are also using firmware upgrades to interact with the electronic chips inside the cartridges causing the printer to stop working if the cartridge is using aftermarket inks. Or messages appear on the computer warning that the ink cartridge could cause irreparable damage or is counterfeit.

Q3. Why are consumers lured into buying a printer if they are so expensive to operate?

Not a week goes by when one of the big supermarkets here in the UK (Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys) advertise an HP, Canon or Epson all-in-one inkjet printer, copier and scanner for less than £30. It seems, at first glance, a fantastic bargain. But most consumers don’t realise the ink cartridges inside the printer are worth more than £30 alone.

Q4. How much are consumers spending on ink in the UK?

A typical home can easily spend over £200 a year, and a small business over £600 a year, on printer cartridges. Within a few months consumers have spent twice the cost of the printer, and a small business 4 or 5 times more, on printer cartridge alone!

Q5. So what can be done, short of going back to typewriters and ink quills?

Quite simply, we have worked out a way to provide consumers here in the UK with the latest wireless multifunction printer with an unlimited supply of ink cartridges for just £9.99 a month for home users and £19.99 for office users. It’s a huge saving for them, and we have won a lot of support for the program, locally, nationally and globally.

With over 25 years of knowledge and expertise in IT & printing technologies, Darren Turner (Managing Director), has developed MY Total Office Solutions into one of the leading printer solutions specialists in the UK. 

Darren can be contacted at or you can visit them online at

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