Blog > Counterfeit Printer Cartridges: How to Identify Them

Counterfeit Printer Cartridges: How to Identify Them

Counterfeit Printer Cartridges: How to Identify Them

Be it designer bags or printer cartridges, when something is expensive there will always be a criminal trying to turn a quick buck on counterfeit versions. Counterfeit printer cartridges have become a big problem in recent years. In fact, the annual market for fake cartridges is over $3 billion a year. It’s not just the printer companies that are getting hurt; counterfeit printer cartridges can cause damage to your machine, home, and potentially even your health. Even if it seems like a crazy good deal purchasing a counterfeit printer cartridge will cost more in the long run than if you’d bought genuine products from a trusted print supply company. How do you know if you’re working with a fake or real cartridge? Our print supply experts weigh in on how to identify counterfeit printer cartridges!


What’s the Big Deal about Counterfeit Printer Cartridges?

You may think ‘it’s not my problem’ when hearing about how much money is poured into the pockets of criminals each year by manufacturing counterfeit printer cartridges, but you would be wrong. It’s no secret that ink and toner has a high sticker tag; the upfront cost is because of the quality used in the licensed product. In order to make a profit on the fakes, counterfeiters need to use lower quality supplies. If you install an off-market cartridge to your machine you’re bound to notice an inevitable fade or smear on each page. The cheaper materials used in fake printer cartridges fail to adhere to paper well, which not only results in a poor-quality print but requires more of the material to be put on the paper for the same color effect. This negates the supposed cost-effectiveness offered by a cheap upfront price point. Over time, the second-rate ink and toner build up in your machines. If you want to avoid costly repairs or replacing your machines ahead of their time, you need to avoid counterfeit printer cartridges.


Identifying the Fake Printer Cartridges

The good news is it’s relatively easy to identify counterfeit printer cartridges. Just like when you hold a counterfeit purse there will be noticeable differences in the materials used to create the product. Shoddy workmanship is the first thing to look for. Pulled threads are the giveaway for copied designer bags and leaking ink or toner is the giveaway for fake printer cartridges. Any cartridge which comes out of the box damaged, leaking, or misshapen should raise red flags. The packaging on sham cartridges will often have faded or misprinted logos. Since many copycats are made overseas, you may notice poor grammar due to translation issues. Should you actually use the cartridge and notice a print quality difference – red flag. Running ink, bad color matches compared to the computer screen, and smearing all point to a fake.


Never Fear: A Guide on Buying Legit

Following intuition is often a good way to identify and ultimately avoid fakes. Online shops that don’t look current but offer current items should be a red flag. Companies who are looking to stick around will put more than the bare minimum into their online shopping experience versus illegal shops looking to make as much money as possible. Not even Amazon is necessarily safe since they are just a sales platform! Purchasing something on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s coming from Amazon itself; it could be a company from China or India which is shipping counterfeit items. The best way to say safe is to go through an established local print supply company, especially when purchasing in bulk. They’re able to get great deals on legitimate cartridges for all brands and can even help you stick to a budget with recycled printer cartridges. Contact Vegas Ink & Toner today for all your print supply needs!

Back to blog