Monday, 13 February 2012

Saving Money with Ink Refills

It's been a few years since inkjet printers were first introduced. Going from expensive to ridiculously cheap in a matter of a few years, these gizmos are perfect for printing photo-realistic pictures at home, or in the office. They are also OK as a generic office printer, although, if you look at costs-per-page, a laser printer is more economical.
Despite its widespread uptake and use, there's a price to pay for this convenience. The consumables.  From the outset inks were expensive, even when the printers weren't.
I think we are all thoroughly fed up with paying the over-inflated prices charged for 'brand name' inks. This is partly because of the stupid cost and but partly because it has been proved that third-party inks are (now) just as good.
Rip-off costs for inks?
Let's look at it another way. A 6-series Canon ink refill costs $28:50. I can fly from LONDON to MILAN (Ryan Air) but I can't buy a paperback in the airport for less than $30. Go figure.

It was Epson that started adding sensors into its tanks to prevent anyone using a non-Epson ink set. However, in court Epson was found to be operating illegally. The courts declared it acceptable for the device owner to use whatever ink sets they wanted to use. It was deemed illegal to force the consumer to buy the same brand as the printer. Since then the scare campaigns ("don't use cheap ink, it will ruin your inkjets!") have mostly died off.
A couple of years ago I did some research on the subject and found that, surprise, surprise, genuine ink refills are about 50% cheaper in North America and about 60% cheaper in Japan. But although, technically, the machine might the same, the model numbers differ slightly making it that much harder to match inks bought on the cheap overseas. Sneaky stuff. The price war continues.
Not surprisingly there's been an explosion of online ink cartridge resellers. You can now buy genuine discounted products as well as cheaper generic inkjet refills. I use an Epson Photo Stylus R2400 and recently had to find ink refills.
I tried Officeworks, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, and Dick Smith, all to no avail. The R2400 takes several light-tinted inks which are hard to find over-the-counter. Retailers either deny their existence completely, or just shake their heads, saying that "...they could be ordered in..." (In Australia this means 10 days at a minimum).
I got the name of an inkjet refill business in Brisbane, then placed a $100 order (same as a Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Darwin!) at 11am. The package arrived 18 hours later. The packaging consisted on a handfull  of lollies! An amazingly-quick, efficient delivery service. I was most impressed.
The ink appears to be great quality (made in the USA). They create identical hues and tones to the genuine product. But at less than half the price. Once you get past Epson's warning signs, which say you are a naughty boy because you are not using genuine (extremely expensive) Epson ink, the results look great. There's a surprise. 
Like many consumers in Oz, I'm resolutely fed up with high prices and poor service which made finding this online deal so much more satisfying.
Check them out:  Wholesale Toners Australia -


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