The big printer cartridge scam | September 21, 2003

I bought a Epsom printer a while back. Just a cheap 70 job. I don't really use it that much, just printing the odd web page. I did think I'd use it to print photos, but the quality has been so poor I gave up after the first attempt. So I was mightily surprised to find that I've just gone through my second colour cartridge since having the thing.

I have no idea why my colour cartridges run out so quickly as pretty much everything I print is in b/w. I noticed that whenever I print something, the settings always default to colour (something I know I can change, but even so!). I really can't believe the printer can be using the colour cartridge to print in black, when it's got a perfectly good black cartridge to use, but it does make you wonder?

What's most annoying though, is the printer seems to want to force me to go out and buy a colour cartridge. It won't allow me to print a page in black and white even thought there is ink in the black cartridge, insisting that I've got to go out and purchase a colour cartridge first. Now this just seems wrong. The printer forcing me to buy a colour cartridge before it'll let me print out a b/w page!

This may just be an oversight by the manufactures, but I can't help imagining a planning meeting at Epsom, where somebody comes up with the bright idea of disabling the printer when any cartridge runs out in order to force people to buy their overly priced, monopolistic peripherals.

So I guess it's a trip to Dixons today to spend 40 on a colour cartridge that I don't want and don't need.

Posted at September 21, 2003 2:21 PM


simon said on September 22, 2003 12:37 AM

take the color cartridge out of the printer and use only the black ???

Sunny said on September 22, 2003 2:14 AM

Yeah thats the scam. Sell a printer for cheap but make money off the cartridges. And those things cost a bundle. It may actually be cheaper to buy a new printer instead of burning the cash on cartridges that would not last.

Maybe you should look into ink refill solutions. Dont know how effective they are but given your needs, they should be adequate.

Andy Budd said on September 22, 2003 8:44 AM

The problem however is the printer won’t work without a colour cartridge, even if I only want to print a b/w page!

I did think about refills, but I use the printer so infrequently, it seemed like more hassle than it was worth. However if I used the printer more, it’s definitely something worth thinking about.

Rich said on September 22, 2003 10:51 AM

My sysadmin has just told me that you can buy a tool to chip the Epson cartridges (he reckons for about 14 quid) so that the printer still thinks they are full. A quick Google search for this tool was unsuccessful, however you might have more luck.

Cheah Chu Yeow said on September 27, 2003 4:33 AM

I’ve got one of those cheapo Epson printers too (it’s a Stylus Color 480) and I found out that the ink monitoring software is the thing that’s lying to me. It seems to be set to decrease the indicated levels of ink OVER TIME, not over actual usage of ink.

I’ve found that even if the monitoring software says that the ink has run out, simply taking out the ink cartridge and putting the SAME one back will allow you to print somemore, since there’s some more ink left in the cartridge! Try that out and see if it’s really that much of a scam as I think it is.

Matt said on October 6, 2003 5:05 PM

The problem is that the printer uses up a bit of ink every time you switch it on, to ensure that the nozles are clean. Turn it off and on enough times and you can get through a whole cartridge without ever printing anything!

I have started to leave my Epson Photo Stylus 870 on all the time, and since doing so, the ink has lasted a lot longer!

Marcell said on August 16, 2005 5:46 PM

I believe that companies get a little too greedy sometimes. Some are on the threshold of hurting themselves which generally they don’t realyze until its too late. I think it is not a coincident that software defaults to using your more expensive color cartridge and that it defaults to using your Epson printer even though you set the default to using your lower cost laser printer. I have owned severall Epson printers and must admit their print quality is one of the best out there, but the BG (Business Greed) is felt sharply when the reusuables wind up costing more than the printer itself.


Peter said on October 4, 2005 7:35 PM

Yep the big scam i also have an epson and have resorted to not using it anymore as leaving the printer for about two weeks never turning it on once and the black drys up and so does the colour. I try to keep putting the cartridge in and have tried re-fills but the crafty epson people have thought of that already as the microchip on the cartridge lets the printer now it has already run out and will not reset when refilled.

Carole said on October 24, 2005 10:42 AM

I think that my black ink has run out!I really don’t know quite what i am doing.Have looked in my Epsom set-up book.Having read the above messages,is it best that i simply go out and buy a new black cartridge?Am thinking of PC World.Is that a good place to buy from?As you can tell,i am not computer-literate!Thankyou.