Counterfeit printer ink isn't likely to be particularly exciting to hear about for the Average Joe on the street, but it is affecting millions of consumers as well as manufacturers each year nonetheless, In a recent interview with Andy Binder HP's Vice President & General Manager of Office Supplies and Solutions, it was revealed just how big a problem counterfeited ink can be and what's being done about it. Here are some of the most alarming takeaways from the article.

  • It's not just printer ink and toner being counterfeited and sold, but printer batteries and power cords as well.
  • The sales mostly take place in online marketplaces, but there is a rise in physical marketplaces, like in shopping malls and flea markets.
  • The printing supplies industry loses around $3.5 billion each year due to counterfeit printer items.
  • HP and other printer companies work closely with law enforcement to track and raid counterfeit businesses.
  • Counterfeit items are significantly hurting manufacturing jobs.
  • Customers routinely call HP and similar companies to report faulty printers or ink cartridges, only to find that they bought a counterfeit item which isn't under warranty.
  • The biggest problem countries for counterfeit printer ink remains India and China.
  • In 2018, 500 raids took place across the world and over eight million counterfeit items were confiscated.
  • HP has a dedicated Investigation Enforcement Team which gathers information used to track counterfeiters and execute raids.
  • Sometimes, empty HP boxes are used to make the counterfeited items appear genuine.

The real victim? The consumer

So, we can clearly see how the counterfeit problem is an issue for HP, but it's really the consumers who are getting harmed. "Our experience here with customers is that they think they're buying an original high-quality HP printing supply. In fact, what they're getting is a poor-quality, inferior, counterfeit cartridge," says Binder. "That can have a harmful impact on the environment as well as obviously having poor performance in printers. If they were cutting corners, which they usually are, they're obviously not going to use the best components, and you have things that can impact the consumer when it comes to, for example, indoor air quality."

Of course, every business wants to save money on printing costs but not to the point where care goes out the window and sites used to sell counterfeited printer items are being supported.This store is an option if you want to be sure you're getting legitimate products and but still want the convenience of an online marketplace. At the end of the day, it's not just about getting the real thing as opposed to a forged and inferior product, but it's also about supporting the local economy, real businesses, and of course the thousands of jobs at stake.