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Q: Third-party inkjet cartridges: safe to use? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Third-party inkjet cartridges: safe to use?
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: nautico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 22 Nov 2003 10:33 PST
Expires: 22 Dec 2003 10:33 PST
Question ID: 279368
I have an HP OfficeJet G55 all-in-one inkjet printer for which HP
replacement cartridges are costly. Is there any downside to using
discounted third-party cartridges, and, if not, which brands have
proven most reliable and safe (I've heard horror stories about
Subject: Re: Third-party inkjet cartridges: safe to use?
Answered By: missy-ga on 22 Nov 2003 13:30 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Nautico,

One of the biggest disadvantages to using non-HP supplies for your
(very nice, rather expensive) HP printer is that if a third party
cartridge damages your printer in any way, HP will not fix it under
your warranty - you'll have to pay for it, and that can get right

"[...] if an all-in-one product failure or damage is attributable to
the use of a non-HP or refilled print cartridge, HP will charge its
standard time and materials charges to service the unit for the
particular failure or damage."

Hewlett-Packard Limited Warranty information

They're a little more lenient with folks who have unknowingly
purchased fake HP supplies - but not by much:

"HP says that technically any damage sustained as a result of using
third-party inks (including fake HP inks) would void the printer's
warranty, but that to help victimized customers HP would make specific
determinations on a case-by-case basis."

Bogus Ink Stink,aid,111319,pg,4,00.asp

Finding an acceptable third party alternative for an HP product is a
tricky business.  HP print cartridges use a patented integrated print
head, which means the only way to acquire a third party replacement is
to buy a "remanufactured" or "refurbished" cartridge:

"In the third-party realm, there are three different ways to pump up
your printer for pennies. Compatible cartridges are brand-new boxes,
often built in China; the same Chinese manufacturer may make
cartridges sold under several U.S. brand names. Remanufactured
cartridges are official OEM cartridges that are cleaned out,
professionally refilled, and put back on sale. For most HP printers,
remanufactured cartridges are the only option because HP carts include
patented print heads that are illegal for third parties to copy."

Think Ink
Smart Computing
June 2003 ? Vol.14 Issue 6
Page(s) 30-33 in print issue

What does this mean?  It means that when you purchase a refurbished
cartridge, you're buying something that has already been used at least
once, and possibly even more than that!

HP says this is a very bad idea, as the cartridges and print heads are
designed to last through only one cycle:

"With remanufactured cartridges or those that are refilled by
customers, the danger lies in the deterioration of built-in
printheads, which are purportedly made to last for one cycle. Repeated
use can cause them to fail. Another concern is the quality of output.
Hewlett-Packard argues that its printers, ink, and media are designed
as a system. It encourages its customers to "maintain the integrity of
that system to ensure reliable and consistent results" from its

The Ink Panther,4149,1165863,00.asp

What else can go wrong?  

-- Cartridges that are only half full or simply refuse to work.  
-- Cartridges that clog repeatedly, leak, spray ink, or even explode.  
-- Improperly formulated ink that is too thick or too thin for the
print heads, resulting in blobbing or pooling of ink on the page.
-- Corrosion of ink feed needles and print heads.  
-- Inaccurate color reproduction.  
-- Poor print quality (airbanding, streaking, flecking) and even worse
print longevity.  While prints from HP ink are rated to last 15 years,
a PC World Magazine test showed aftermarket ink prints to be rated for
1.7 years or less!  Additionally, while page yield was significantly
higher in the case of one vendor (more than 50%), the print quality
was rated as inferior.



Test Report: Third-Party Inks Save Money but Give Up Permanence (chart),aid,111767,pg,2,00.asp

Cheap Ink Probed,aid,111767,pg,1,00.asp

The Ink Panther - By Laarni Almendrala Ragaza
PC Magazine
December 26, 2001,4149,3194,00.asp

Third-party cartridges under fire in ink war
By Garry Barker - The Age
May 21 2002

3rd-Party Inks: Can You Read the Fine Print?
By Mary Kathleen Flynn - PC Magazine
November 5, 2002,4149,587378,00.asp

Bottom line?  If you don't really care about print quality or
durability, don't mind taking your cartridges out to clean them every
other day or so, and can afford costly repairs should a third party
cartridge malfunction, these discounted supplies may be for you.

If you'd rather have a guarantee of quality and tech support, as well
as the assurance that if something goes wrong with the product, the
company will fix it, skip the cheap stuff and stick with the
"official" cartridges.

I hope you find the source material helpful!  If I can be of further
assistance, please just ask for clarification.


Search terms:  [ "third party" ink jet cartridges ], [ "third party"
inkjet cartridges ]

Request for Answer Clarification by nautico-ga on 22 Nov 2003 14:53 PST
Just noticed that three ads for third-party cartridges appear directly
above my question. Funny.

Clarification of Answer by missy-ga on 22 Nov 2003 15:02 PST
Yay for the search alogorithm, eh?

I'm glad you're pleased with your answer!

nautico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Many thanks! A wonderfully helpful answer.

There are no comments at this time.

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