HP: “3rd party consumables false economy”
By Ian Burley
Hewlett-Packard has issued an unusual press release that basically urges its customers to remain faithful it its own-brand printer consumables. The release is based on data obtained from from Gartner Consulting, a respected market research outfit.
According to Gartner, inks and papers only represents 14% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a HP ink-jet printer, per annum. This raised eyebrows in the DPN office and a quick calculation suggested that an owner of a top of the range HP P1315 would already reach 17% of TCO by replacing one set of inks and buying one pack of A4 photo paper. As the P1315 is one of the higher priced models in HP’s range, the percentage of TCO that consumables represent will be even higher as you go further down the model range.
When we queried the figures, we were told that the TCO calculation is more complicated than we might have assumed. Aspects such as down time due to something not working, for example, are factored in.
HP is campaigning against the growing trend among buyers to opt for cheaper third party inks and papers. The suggestion is that depending on the source of these consumables, you could end up wasting time and money through poor results and potentially damage to your printer.
"HP reinvests Ł1 million a year in the research and development to ensure that our products are of the highest quality, and deliver value for money to our customers," says Rhiannon Williams, supplies product manager at HP. "This new research proves that we have achieved just that: as well as producing optimum results, using original HP print supplies with your hp printer is the most cost effective option."
As current HP ink-jet printers incorporate the print head into the replaceable ink-cartridges, there is, as far as we can see, less risk of damaging the printer by using a third party cartridge. On other printers, the delicate print head may not be replaceable if it is damaged by sub-standard ink.
DPN’s policy is actually to avoid using third party inks. We believe it’s only worthwhile if you are intending to do a lot of printing and the source of the ink can been verified as being of reputable quality. We’re not saying that all third party inks are bad, just that you need to make absolutely sure you can trust the ink and you’re prepared to make some adjustments to compensate for differences in colour reproduction compared to branded inks.
We still can’t understand the arithmetic behind HP’s statement, but we do agree with the sentiment of their message, more or less.