Brian Walker, Gleaner Intern
The sale of illegitimate printing supplies dates back to the 1980s and has spiralled internationally, accounting for losses totalling US$3 billion yearly. So said Vincent Camayd, Hewlett Packard's supplies category manager for Central America and the Caribbean regarding HP's IPG Anti-Counterfeit Programme, under the theme: "Recognise.Report.Protect".
Camayd, who recently spoke with The Gleaner firmly outlined the severe implications for persons who buy these fraudulent supplies inclusive of ink cartridges, toners and paper and the economy as a whole. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that the issue is not in relation to companies that refill or remanufacture cartridges, which is a lawful activity, but persons who manufacture printing products and brand them as HP, thus reaping extensive financial rewards.
Disparity in the cost
Camayd noted that there is a minute disparity in the cost of authentic HP printing supplies versus a counterfeit product. Surpris-ingly, he added that, "Ninety-nine per cent of the customers who purchase the counterfeit product, don't want it and it infuriates them, and 100 per cent of the time they don't know". Globally, HP works in conjunction with former ex Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents who conduct investigations to eradicate these unlawful products and make reports to law enforcers.
Within the Caribbean and Central America, the leading sources of these fraudulent supplies, are the Dominican Republic and Panama. In 2011, both countries collectively amassed US$237,000 in counterfeit printing supplies, and reports indicate that China is the principal manufacturer of these goods. Camayd was pleased to highlight Jamaica's minimal participation in the production of these counterfeit products. However, he states that Jamaican consumers are not devoid of these illegitimate supplies, because persons in the Unites States and around the Caribbean can ship these products to the island at any time, hence public awareness is of utmost importance.
Implications for printer damage
Apart from the fake ink cartridges being substandard in quality Camayd emphasised that, "the seals of the cartridge become worn after revolutions and ink will start to leak, also dust will appear inside the printer and it will get on the rollers and ruin the print". Also, the dust particles are incredibly small and difficult to clean, and the printer will become damaged. Consequently, customers will have fewer pages printed than from the original HP supplies.
In an attempt to combat the sale of illegitimate supplies, Camayd said, "All HP printers have software installed on the printer and the PC, so when you install the cartridge, it tells you if the cartridge is authentic or not and it allows you to enrol in the HP rewards programme". Additionally, there is a Smartphone application which enables buyers to scan the "QR" code on the box and it will reveal the item's authenticity.
Camayd is urging all consumers to be wary of resealed boxes and excessive glue and taping which may hint that the product may be fake, and to contact Royale PC & Electronics, which is the official HP distributor here in Jamaica for any queries, as HP continues its quest to eliminate the sale and production of counterfeit printing supplies worldwide.