Study Finds Consumers Overpay For Printer Ink Tremendously

Recent study show customers have no basis for comparison when buying printers, which results in $6 billion overpay on ink every year.

The American Consumer Institute released a new white paper entitled “Inkjet Prices, Printing Costs and Consumer Welfare” disclosing pricing strategies adopted within the inkjet industry. This is the first document made by public organization (we don’t consider numerous articles on the topic in magazines and sites by independent authors).

Inkjet printers are usually under-priced or even sell in the red to make them more appealing for purchase. However, the manufacturers make up the profit on overpriced ink, and consumers are left with no choice and spend hundreds of extra dollars to operate the printers. The printer ink is currently one of the most expensive liquids in the world. The price of it can be compared with that of the world’s finest champagne, gasoline and most luxury fragrances.

Currently, there’s no standardized printer ink unit pricing, such as cents per printed page. In this situation, customers at the shop have no information about real printing costs. They buy cartridges without knowing how much ink is in them or how many pages one cartridge will print. The lowest price cannot serve as the rule of thumb, because very often the lowest priced cartridges have much less ink.

The paper also suggests that adoption of a form of truth-in-labeling would allow customers to compare each printer’s cost-of-ink per printed page. The paper concludes that competition in the inkjet printer and ink sectors would be much more intense if consumers were made aware of the cost implications of their printer choices. Better information means lower costs for consumers.

I believe this is a good start. If more public organizations begin informing consumers on the issues and thus affecting the manufacturers, the situation with overpriced printer ink may really change for the better.

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