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Buying the Brand

Once that printer ink starts to fade or you repeatedly get those ominous "ink is low" messages on you computer, it's time to start looking for a new ink or laser toner cartridge. Cruising around the web, it's tempting to go for those sites that offer discount printing supplies, but your printer specifies a particular kind of cartridge, and that old adage about things sounding too good to be true starts to float around your brain. Buying a cartridge can be a stressful experience. Some of those worries include paying a high price for OEM (original equipment manufacturer's) replacement cartridges which can be more expensive than the price of your printer. Then there is the warranty to consider and the quality of the print. Somehow, you know that you're going to screw something up.

OEM cartridges aren't cheap, but you know you are getting the real thing. Ink cartridges cost between $15.00 and $40.00. Laser toner cartridges are sometimes three to four times more than that. While it is expensive, there is some peace of mind to be had with going with the name brand. You know that the company is reputable and that you are probably going to get decent customer service and help if something goes wrong. For some, it's more important to be safe and hassle-free than to risk going to a discount compatible cartridge site.

Those worries notwithstanding, if you plan on printing a lot and buy strictly from the OEM, plan on spending a bundle of money. Going to a third-party resource for your ink cartridge is a good way to alleviate some of your printing costs. Be careful though. While all of them make great promises about customer service and the quality of their ink, some sources for ink are not as reliable as others. A quick web search reveals that many companies have serious customer service issues and the ink is not as high quality as advertised. Some ink suppliers, however, match OEM quality and customer service. If you can find one that does both, you have a great way to save potentially hundreds of dollars a year in printing costs.

One question that a lot of people have is that if they use third-party or compatible cartridges will it void their warranty. The short answer is no. A court ruling decided that a company cannot invalidate a warranty by explicitly stating that their printer (or other such product) can only take their name brand parts. If you are interested, the ruling is under the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act. If you can find a good supplier using a third party cartridge, it won't violate the warranty, it will save in printing costs, and will produce equal quality. By doing this, you can get a printer at a cheap price, and won't pay extra money down the line in high cartridge costs. It's a win-win for your home or office.