Shame on you, Staples and HP! Lull us into a false sense of security with your hilarious Easy Button and not hilarious celebrities’-hands-doing-stuff commercials while you pull the wool over our eyes with your printer ink price-fixing. I feel violated, although that might have nothing to do with this HP/Staples stuff.
These are all allegations at this point, so let’s not get too bent out of shape but a man in California is suing HP and Staples for breaking antitrust law, claiming that HP offered Staples "at least $100 million worth of ‘market development funds’ and incentives, in exchange for an agreement to stop selling third-party HP-compatible ink cartridges. According to the lawsuit, Staples then used HP’s exclusivity to raise prices on the HP cartridges it offered."
Here’s an idea. Don’t shop at Staples for ink if you don’t like its agreement with HP. Staples doesn’t have to sell third-party ink if it doesn’t want to and it can charge whatever it wants for HP ink. If it charges too much, economic laws will kick in and people will go down the street to Office Depot. And also, don’t buy inkjet printers. The costs of ink are astronomical. I swore off inkjet printers years ago in favor of laser printers.
In fact, I just picked up the Brother HL-2070N for under $100. It hooks directly into my wireless router and the toner cartridge will last me a long, long time — long enough that replacing it for $80 won’t seem like I’m getting kicked in the balls. If you print in color enough to necessitate the purchase of a color printer, pick up a color laser printer for around $200 to $250. Ink costs a lot because it’s a dying technology and it’s one of the only ways for companies to make fat margins on printing equipment.