Friday, June 22, 2007

Generic Print Cartridges, Not such a Bargain

With 3 color laser printers throughout the office, we go through a good number of print cartridges each month. In an effort to cut costs, I decided to try the generic brand for our printers (which all happen to be HP). I immediately started calculating how much I could save over the course of a year by using generic cartridges. It was a substantial amount ($20 x 4 cartridges per each printer was close to $1500 a year saving).

Well, the print cartridges arrived and apart from the generic box they looked pretty much like the HP brand. But, and this is a big BUT, the quality of the product and the manufacturer's concern for recyling didn't fair well.

The HP brand includes a pre-paid UPS or Postal mailing label for returning used cartridges for proper disposal. A big plus in my mind since many of our local recyling centers don't recycle this type of product. The generic brand didn't include this option or even a mailing address where we might send the cartridge for recyling should we want to pay the shipping. As far quality, on a scale 1-10, the generic brand scored a 5. I spent at least 30 minutes just trying to get one of the generic replacement cartridges to print properly. A portion of the cartridge broke during insertion and I had to rig it to work. My time and frustration wasn't worth the savings. Also, when I factor in that our local Staples store delivers for free, well, need I say more?

Unfortunately, returning the generic cartridges wasn't an option. Our staff was desparate to print and we didn't have time to wait for replacement HP product. It was just another reminder that you get what you pay for. From here on out, I will buy only name brand print cartridges. You would think that I would learn. It wasn't that long ago that I tried generic brand cartridges for our two fax machines. Same issues. It was a nightmare and I ended up ordering the branded product.

So, the next time a customer emails about the pricing of products on our web site, I will point them to this blog post. "You get what you pay for!" If you order a $2.50 mold, that's what you get. If you order a $7.50 mold.... you get better quality, durability, and a longer life cycle.

No comments: