If I use an ink refill kit for my inkjet printer, does it void my warranty like some salespeople have told me?
This question was answered on July 24, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
The biggest complaint about today’s inkjet printers is the replacement cost of the ink cartridges As a result, recycled cartridges and inkjet refill kits have become very popular alternatives.
The current street price for an Epson or Hewlett-Packard entry-level inkjet printer is around $49.99 and the cost of the replacement ink cartridges (black and multi-color combined) is $48.98 This means that it’s only $1.01 less to replace the cartridges than it is to buy a brand
new printer with new ink cartridges!
Lexmark actually has an inkjet printer that sells for between $20 and $30 but the replacement cartridge costs are in excess of $50.
Clearly, the printer manufacturers are counting on consumers buying several replacement cartridges over the life of these inexpensive printers to make up for the actual cost of manufacturing much like Microsoft is counting on consumers buying lots of games to help pay for the actual cost of it’s XboX gaming consoles.
In an effort to ensure that consumers buy their expensive cartridges, many retail sales people claim that using recycled cartridges or ink refill kits will void the manufacturers warranty
Here is what Hewlett-Packard has posted on their web site: Using refilled print cartridges alone does not affect either the warranty or any maintenance contract purchased from HP for its HP Inkjet printers However, if an HP Inkjet printer fails or is damaged because you used a modified or refilled HP Inkjet print cartridge, the repair will not be covered under the warranty or by the maintenance contract Damage resulting from the modification or refilling of HP cartridges is specifically excluded from coverage in HP printer warranties
This wording is specifically designed to comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act (passed by Congress in 1975), which does not allow warranty exclusion purely on the basis of the use third party consumables.
Since HP’s disclaimer states that the use of such items does not void the warranty, but any damage that occurs as a result of the use does, it allows leeway for them or their agents to make the claim.
So the answer to your question is no and maybeâ€¦
Obviously, if you damage the printer while attempting to refill the cartridges, it is not covered under warranty, but if you are able to successfully fill and replace the cartridges, the warranty should not be affected.
What this really means is that if you want to play it safe, don’t ever take your printer in for service with modified ink jet cartridges installed.
I have used inkjet refill kits and other than the hassle and the mess, they seem to work just fine Ink jet print heads do wear out over time, so you can only refill a cartridge so many times before they become unusable (your mileage may vary).
If you plan on using a refill kit, don’t wait until the ink runs out before you refill as some cartridges have a hard time ‘priming’ once they run dry.
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on July 24, 2003