Epson talks tough on compatible cartridges

Epson is planning to sue the makers of compatible ink cartridges after blaming two thirds of its printer returns on the cheap ink sellers.

Epson talks tough on compatible cartridges

The printer firm plans to clamp down on the compatible cartridge makers by enforcing its patents. It says the steps are necessary to protect both its income stream and consumers’ printers.

Low-cost ink offers greatly reduced costs per printed page, with the price drop particularly noticeable for photos, where authentic inks can set you back over £1 per print. But Epson’s Intellectual Property manager, Iain Friar, says ‘everyone knows you get what you pay for’, and that ‘no-one ever bought a compatible because they thought it would be higher quality.’

Friar insists there is a ‘risk of damage’ associated with ‘any non-Epson ink cartridge’, and claims that although printer warranties are invalidated by the use of compatible ink cartridges, Epson was honouring them on machines which failed after their use.

He claims that Epson’s approach ‘is one of education’, and ‘steps are taken to make sure that the customer understands’ that compatible inks are to blame for failed hardware.

Robert Clark, Epson’s Director of Inkjet Business in Europe, says 67 per cent of returned printers in Europe had been using compatible ink cartridges, adding up to what he called ‘unreasonable service costs for Epson and none for the third party manufacturer’.

Epson insists that it is taking a ‘very even-handed approach’ to tackling the compatible cartridge maker. Epson ‘never makes frivolous complaints about [compatible ink manufacturers]’, says Friar, and was an ‘innovator’ that didn’t waste time in court ‘unless it was necessary’.

Do you use compatible ink cartridges in your inkjet, and if so, have you ever experienced any print quality or hardware reliability problems? Let us know via the Comments button below.

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