Overpriced printer ink can work out 10 times more expensive than vintage champagne, an investigation has found.
Consumers are paying way over the odds for replacement ink cartridges by buying branded ink instead of cheaper compatible alternatives, it says.
Essential printer ink ordered directly from a leading printer brand’s website comes to £1.89 per millilitre. In contrast, a bottle of Dom Perignon Vintage champagne at the same price as this would cost £1,417.50, according to consumer group Which?
Brent crude oil sells for about 27p per litre, whereas the same quantity of ink could set you back £1,890. For that cost, you could buy 7,000 litres of oil or enough to make 926 gallons of petrol, say researchers.
Britons buy around 50 million ink cartridges every year from high street chains and online. Although fewer households now own inkjet printers, instead choosing to share photos and documents on the internet rather than printing them, they are still used to print out school homework, concert tickets and airline boarding passes.
Which? says compatible ink from a top scoring ink brand costs only £15.99, compared with more than £90 for the original ink. "And it says the difference in print quality between original ink and compatible third party alternatives isn’t as wide as the price difference suggests.
Which? says all the top rated third party ink suppliers in its own survey had print quality similar to the original ink brands. Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Our research has found that the best third party ink will produce good quality prints and massive savings.
“Branded ink may cost significantly more while delivering similar results, so it’s worth shopping around to save money.” Printer brands often give warnings about quality or compatibility but Which? says its research shows that compatibility problems are rare.
A spokesman added: “One of the main reasons that people don’t order third party ink cartridges are due to worries of a fault with either the ink or the printer as a result. "But things that might go wrong are usually nothing to do with a faulty or incompatible ink cartridge.”
By Stephen Hayward - 20 JUL 2019 – Mirror