Epson sues illegal cartridge sellers
Illegal Epson cartridges sold on Amazon Marketplace and other internet sellers? Yep! Lots of them! Lawsuits? Filed right here in "River City."
Due to earlier Epson lawsuits against dozens of companies about ten years ago, aftermarket companies (manufacturers, importers, wholesalers/distributors and retailers) must (agreed to) adhere to settlements ending the sale of "compatible" Epson replacement cartridges in the USA and only sell "remanufactured" Epson cartridges, as an alternative to genuine (OEM) Epson cartridges. The settlement agreements stipulated that all Epson aftermarket cartridges sold in the USA must adhere to the following:
1) initially sold as an original Epson (OEM) in the USA;
2) recycled in the USA;
3) remanufactured in the USA; and
4) then only sold in the USA.
Until the last several years when Amazon and other on-line sites set the "how low can you go" standard and turned "a blind eye" to illegal product importation and questionable practices of knowingly listing illegal items, most legitimate remanufactured cartridges were reasonably priced and generally with in pricing proximity of each other.
Domestic factories remanufacturing Epson compliant cartridges have generally produced quality products, selling for 40% – 50%+ off, Epson retail pricing. The factories we use produce excellent remanufactured Epson cartridges.
Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, and certain on-line sellers have increasingly been selling illegal Epson "compatibles", (a physical "knock off "), not "remanufactured" for ridiculously low prices; as much as 90% off Epson retail pricing. These are imported, generally from China. Many in the industry speculate that provincial Chinese governments subsidize their manufacturing costs, allowing products to be sold below cost and imported for sale at staggeringly low prices. Some in the industry speculate that such actions have led to Chinese production capacity being twice world demand, leading to on-line sales where profit is questionable. Sound like other industries where such actions have had detrimental effect?
The importation of illegal cartridges is not unique to Epson. HP and Canon, as well as others, have successfully sued for patent infringement and are also actively pursue patent violation enforcement and container load seizures by the US Customs. The number and breadth of seizures has been increasing.
As the article and lists detail, the importation of illegal cartridges has clearly been growing. While Amazon represents it made certain efforts to monitor and police sellers, many in the industry speculate they are inadequate at best, and if Amazon really wanted to stop such behavior it could do so fairly quickly, with real penalties.
Counterfeit cartridges too?
Yep. The link below references Epson pursuing a counterfeit operation in Nevada.
Why do we care? We care because we want our customers to have quality products and a local, knowledgeable source for assisting them in getting the best value. We hope we do right by our employees, community and consumer and business customers. With society's demand for ever less expensive items, manufacturers "off shore" production and reduce quality to provide less expensive items. We often assist someone in identifying an appropriate printer and then are told, as if of course we agreeably understand, they will buy it on line for a bit less. When they have a problem they want us to resolve it for nothing because the seller can't or won't assist in resolving it.
We know our pricing is very competitive, particularly when compared to other resellers or big box stores and most legitimate on-line sellers. When we are called for pricing and then told, "I can get it on-line for less", sometimes we point out the differences such as high yield, quality, legal items etc. Sometimes callers listen. For others, it is clear the lowest price is the only factor which matters to them. Sometimes we actually hear from such callers later that the on-line cheapies didn't work too well.
We must be doing something right, because of the thousands of customers who use us time and again. The importation and sale of illegal cartridges is ultimately detrimental to all of us. Importers have clearly have been emboldened by Amazon's and other sellers' disregard of policing illegal items.
Cartridge Network a full-service independent, non-franchise operation, sells and services printers and copiers. "We stock dozens of different printer models (inkjet and laser) and copiers too. We focus on a buyer's needs and then explore alternatives to best meet their needs."
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