Why to avoid cheap ink and toner cartridge retailers

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Posted: May 24, 2016 02:58 PM
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Cheap ink and toner cartridges are very tempting but is there a catch?  We ran a test to find out.


I have to share a recent experience but before I do I need to explain some background.  Here at Inkjet Online we continually strive to provide a high level of service, quality ink and toner cartidges AND low prices.  It’s a difficult balance.  If you boil our business down and simplify what our prices reflect is cost of product, plus costs to supply, plus man hours to arrange all that (otherwise known as Service).  You just can't supply service without expending time, time is wages, so the level of service is a significant component of the price.  The better the service the higher the price.  When we look at some of our competitors prices we are left scratching our heads... how do they do it?  Should we offer their prices?  There would be no margin left for service if we did.  Is that what customers want?

The only way to find out how they do it is to test and see.

So a few weeks ago, with fake moustache and hooded cape, we ordered some goods from the cheapest of our competitors.  An enlightening experience!  It was very easy to place the order and spend the money but things fell apart from there.  I'm really staggered at the fact people obviously use them. 

As I've said the money was easy enough to spend, the ordering process had no real problems. 

Delivery times were OK, several suppliers had the product to us within 3 days and the other 5 days.  They all claimed express delivery on their website so they failed to meet that actual description but if you are not in a rush this is acceptable. 

Packaging was a joke.  All suppliers stuffed them into postage satchels, one was padded but not the others.  This is insufficient to save them from being crushed, its brutal out there in package world... not that that actually ended up mattering.  Although most do not allow the return of unwanted ink and toner cartridges, for those that did you couldn’t return it anyway.  The packaging was ruined.  The cartridges had been taken out of their boxes.  The boxes, if they even had an accompanying box - some were just cartridge, no box and totally unmarked - were flattened and wrapped around the cartridges.  All with the aim to make it as small and cheap to deliver as possible.  As unwanted product must be returned in AS NEW CONDITION the destruction of the packaging makes this a breach of their Terms and Conditions so impossible!  A sneaky way of getting around having to take product back...

Cheap ink and toner cartridges

The goods were equally unbelievable.  We had ordered generic product.  Genuine OEM ink and toner cartridges is a known quality value and we compete very well price wise so not worth investigating.  Generic product is most prone to quality issues so we wanted to see what theirs was like.  Our generics inks are the best we can buy.  They cost a lot more than other offerings we can source.  We receive several emails a week from Chinese suppliers selling generic ink and toner cartridges for cents per unit where ours cost multiple dollars per unit.  We would never touch them.  Its our reputation and more importantly your printer that we are risking.  Several of their product simply didn’t work.  Quality of print was poor with things like fuzzy text and inaccurate colours.  2 of them leaked.  I would not be happy to use any of them in my printer. 

Being a business we can claim back GST on inputs and require a Tax invoice to do so.  2 suppliers did not supply a tax invoice, in fact no paper work at all.  Trying to track down how to get one sent through we found it very hard to find contact details.  One supplier does not have a phone number all at – totally amazing!  We communicated by email but never heard back.

Unlike our competitors above we actually use Australia Posts, Express Post Network, not just promise express delivery and then use whatever we like.  We take care to pack everything in strong boxes with void fill, all in their own untouched boxes.  We supply a tax invoice with ph and email.  We are here to help you, before during and after your purchase.  You can contact us directly any time during business hours and you will speak to some who can actually help.  All of our product is the best quality that can be found and we back it up 100%.

This level of service does make us more expensive than some.  I hope our experience here helps pre-warn you, informs you of what can go wrong and what you are really paying for.  I hope it encourages you to give us a go for your next order : ).

Thanks for reading.




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