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Do Compatible Cartridges Void My Printer Warranty Nov 17, 2010 14:06 by Matt Bird

A question we encounter hundreds of times a week is a simple fear for many consumers: Does the use of compatible cartridges void my printer warranty? As you’d expect, the answer is murky, and it depends which warranty you are referring to.

 

My printer was purchased within 12 months…

A manufacturer is legally required to give a 1-year guarantee on electrical products. They cannot have anti-competitive terms here.

If your printer was purchased within 12 months, the supplier has to PROVE that the third party cartridges caused the fault with the printer. They cannot just state “you used a compatible, we’re not helping”. Read your warranty and bring their attention to the details, likely in the form of “warranty does not apply if damage is caused by non-original products”.

They should arrange an engineer visit to determine the fault and what caused it. If it’s the printer fault, great, they’ll sort it. If it is the cartridges then your supplier guarantee will cover it.

Thanks to John M for commenting below with a fantastic report by the Office of Fair Trading into unfair warranty terms.

 

My printer is in an extended warranty after 12 months…

These optional warranties are provided by the manufacturer and they can set their own terms. This means that they can void your warranty for using third party cartridges.

In this case follow these tips.

  1. Contact your manufacturer – it may be a known printer fault (e.g. Kodak printheads cracking)
  2. If they refuse to help, contact your supplier explaining the problem.
  3. If there’s a chance the consumable caused it, they will arrange an independent engineer to fix the issue and find the fault (as they should guarantee their products)
  4. If the cartridge was the cause your supplier guarantee should cover it
  5. If the printer is at fault, you have an engineers report to talk to the manufacturer about.

Important note: If the engineer is confident it is a printer fault you will have a much higher chance of success talking to the manufacturer if you have original cartridges in the machine when they look to resolve the issue.

 

I’m in America..

Americans have it easy, it is simply illegal for a manufacturer to void a warranty with anti-competitive practices. It is stipulated in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act. United States Code Annotated Title 15 Commerce and Trade Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties 15. Section 2302.

(c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer’s using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection be waived by the commission if: 1) The warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and 2) The Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

 

Is there anything else protecting me?

In early 200, the European remanufacturing industry achieved a landmark decision passing Article 4 in the WEEE Directive. This was specifically aimed at legislating against the use of anti-reuse devices and environmentally unfriendly behaviour of original printer and cartridge manufacturers. This includes cartridge features such as chips which authenticate the cartridge with the printer, thus blocking the use of future recycling.

MEPs produced one of the most extraordinary votes seen on such an amendment, passing it by 579 votes to 9.

This wasn’t enough, and a Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment was passed. {2002/96/EC] states that by 2007 the act of circumventing EU recycling rules will be outlawed, blocking companies which design products with features such as chips that block recycling. With manufacturers continuing claims for patent-breach on remanufacturers, whilst trying to find a balance with recycling laws, it will be interesting to see where the market goes.

 

We hope you’ve found this helpful. Ultimately you should be confident using third party cartridges from a reputable supplier, the likelihood of damaging your printer is incredibly small and there’s a reason retailers like Stinkyink survive in such a competitive market. The products work, and they work well.


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4 Comments

  1. Martin Dobson says:

    Re Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act. United States Code Annotated Title 15 Commerce and Trade Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties 15. Section 2302.

    Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act. United States Code Annotated Title 15 Commerce and Trade Chapter 50 Consumer Product Warranties 15. Section 2302.

    How does this help UK buyers?

    Thanks.

    • Huw Carrington says:

      Hi Martin

      Although we’re not in the States, it comes into play particularly with American brands, such as HP or Kodak. The covering the rest of them, there are further Acts within the EU, as discussed in the rest of the article.

      This article is actually fairly old now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are further developments in anti-competitive legislations. I’ll take a look and see if there are some further details that we can add, or even see if a new article would be more helpful – thanks for bringing it to my attention.