Partners: Off-Brand Cartridges Are Breaking HP Printers, 'Crap In- Crap Out'

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HP Inc. partners say all the hubbub surrounding a firmware update that prevented some cloned cartridges from working with HP printers misses the point: namely that off brand cartridges are breaking HP printers.

"It's simple: crap in, crap out," said Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, a top HP inc. partner, No. 167 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500. "This is not a freedom of choice issue. It is a quality issue. We see remanufactured cartridges where toner is leaking out of the device. The risk is not worth the reward. If I was HP I would stand my ground and do what is right for the business and not allow remanufactured catridges to be used in HP printers."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HP COO Flaxman Reaffirms Commitment To Printer Security]

In addition to breaking printers, off brand clone, counterfeit and remanufactured cartridges end up  jeopardizing security, impacting print quality and ultimately costing customers more in the long run, partners said.

The outcry from partners came after HP released a fix for customers impacted by a new cartridge authentication procedure that prevented some cloned cartridges from working with HP printers.

In a blog post Wednesday, HP COO Jon Flaxman apologized to customers affected by the problem, but reaffirmed HP's  commitment to use  "security features in the future."

Venero, an HP managed print services partner, said his company walks away from deals where customers want to use remanufactured printer cartridges. "My services' costs go up exponentially on devices that use remanufactured toner," he said.

The clone cartridges end up breaking HP printers with customers blaming HP as the printer manufacturer – not the third party clone cartridge maker, said Venero.

"HP has invested billions and billions of dollars in R and D in creating the number one printer offering in the market," said Venero. "Giving a third-party non-certified toner cartridge maker the ability to impact the user experience doesn't make sense."

Bruno Tirone, president and CEO of MRA International Inc., a Long Branch, New Jersey HP Inc. partner, said buying cloned cartridges ultimately ends up costing the customer in the form of a broken printer that needs to be replaced.

"It's a big mistake to use non-HP cartridges," said Tirone. "Even though they end up saving a couple of pennies on the cartridge in six months to a year they end up having to replace the printer. At the end of the day, the customer has saved a couple of pennies but their (print) yield is a lot less and they have destroyed their printer."

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