Monday, June 20, 2011

Poll favors Lexmark as the "least friendly for refills" printer

123 Refills has been conducting a casual poll on its blog asking 2 versions of essentially the same question:

1) What is the most refill friendly printer? and
2) What is the least refill friendly printer?

With around 100 votes in so far, there is an interesting picture that is being painted by voters.

Lexmark is clearly in the lead as the "least refill friendly" printer, with 35% of respondents choosing that brand over any other.  This is not surprising given the high failure rate of Lexmark original ink cartridges (most in the aftermarket industry would agree that the quality of Lexmark cartridges is inferior to other brands - the print heads clog frequently, they wear out faster than other brands among other technical problems).  The voting is also not surprising given 2 other well publicized tactics by Lexmark:

  1. The Lexmark prebate program (forcing customers to return cartridges to Lexmark that were offered for sale at a discount - essentially removing them from the pool of refillable cartridges), and
  2. The Lexmark firmware / chip encoding issue (according to SCC and other industry giants, Lexmark is purposely causing their printers to not recognize refilled cartridges through firmware updates)
So its not surprising that Lexmark is being selected as the "least refill friendly printer".  Dell cartridges are made by Lexmark, and Dell is the 3rd least popular for refills in the same poll.  What is interesting though, is that HP is currently in 2nd place as the least refill friendly printer, yet, it is also currently in 2nd place as the "most" refill friendly printer.  Lets analyze this for a moment... how can a printer brand be both highly popular for refills, and highly unpopular at the same time?

Our take on this is that HP has flip-flopped over the years, putting out refill friendly printer cartridges, and refill unfriendly cartridges as well.  So customers who have bought the refill friendly cartridges, are happy with HP, and customers who bought the unfriendly for refills cartridges, are obviously unhappy with HP.  Some HP cartridges are easy to fill.  For example, the HP 94, HP 95, and other HP 90 series.  But other HP cartridges like the HP 940, HP 920 and HP 564, are not as friendly because they have chips!  A customer who bought an HP 94, would probably consider HP a refill friendly brand.  But a customer who bought the HP 920, would consider it refill unfriendly.  It would server HP well to continue down the path of being refill friendly.  Yes, they will lose some market share to the aftermarket, but the aftermarket will promote their brand and HP will benefit as well.

That's our short analysis on the poll results so far.  Please vote and let us know what you think! The poll is open to anyone and is visible to the right of the page.

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