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Why are printer ink cartridges so expensive?

As adult consumers living in the United States, we are extra wary of marketing schemes that have the sole purpose of overcharging us for commodities we use on a daily basis, like ink cartridges. Why are ink cartridges so expensive? While you might think that the ink itself is expensive, it really has more to do with marketing research conducted by big brand printer companies and profit than the cost of the raw resources.

The marketing “shenanigans” with ink and toner cartridges are legendary, perhaps because they are so blatant in their execution. We really first start learning this "lesson" when we buy our first printer for our home office, typically a beautiful device that gleams on the showroom floor of your local “big box” office supply franchise. Your new printer seems very cheap and affordable at first, and the fact that the printer comes with free ink cartridges only sweetens the already good deal, right?

You find that everyone in your family is impressed with your newfound printing capability. After you print out a few Julia Child recipes, your "great deal" of a printer freezes and advises you to replace the ink cartridge. Did you really print out that many pages that fast? At this point, you start to realize that those complimentary ink cartridges you got with your printer were only half-full. While you're a little annoyed, your new printer conveniently offers to go online and place an ink cartridge order for you (but only for the printer manufacturer’s brand of course). You decline, thinking you'll buy ink cartridges at your local office supply store instead. In the printer ink aisle, you encounter a full wall of carefully prepared printer ink products for competing printer brands, all arranged by a complex series of numbering conventions. When you start investigating, the ink cartridge prices are almost as high as what you originally paid for the printer.

Why do ink cartridges cost so much?

When you finally locate the ones you need, the high price of ink cartridges doesn't quite fit into your monthly budget as cheaply as you originally thought it would. Welcome to the arena of deceptive printer business marketing practices, a scheme that every big printer manufacturer indulges in. Federal laws like the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act have even been passed to protect consumers, but the “tricks” continue. Half-filled complementary cartridges are but one way printer companies cheat their consumers. Low-priced printers with outrageously expensive ink cartridges are the “norm” in this industry.

Printer Ink Cartridge Price Gouging

This printer company marketing “gambit” is nothing new. Gillette sold cheap

razors, but you had to buy their expensive blades to make the razor useful. In today’s world, Amazon sells its popular “Kindle Fire” at well below cost in order to profit handsomely when you buy a content download. Hewlett Packard, the “behemoth” in the industry with over a 50% market share, is heavily dependent on its printer division for its livelihood, which has been under great pressure lately. Lexmark and Kodak have exited the industry due to pressure from alternative ink cartridge distributors. Market forces have a way of destroying price gouging attempts, but it does take time.

Where to Buy Cheap Ink Cartridges

Now you know why ink cartridges are so expensive and cost so much. Luckily, there is now a way to not fall for all of your printer brand's marketing schemes. Instead of giving in and paying full price for printer ink, you can buy re-manufactured ink cartridges at a much lower cost, sometimes up to 70% less than full retail price. Discount replacement ink cartridges are not only way cheaper (especially with free shipping), but they are also better for the planet, so you can feel good about saving a little green in your pocket and in the environment. At Inkpal, our motto is, “Think before you ink.” We are here to serve consumers, like yourself, who are fed up with all the ink cartridge price gouging. There's really no reason why ink cartridges cost so much.

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