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March 20, 2018 06:07 PM

Viral Video Says Ink Cartridges Are A 'Scam'

They're so valuable, that a New York State man is wanted for stealing $900 of toner cartridges from a Staples store. 

But have you ever stopped to think about why printer ink costs so much?

A video titled, "Ink Cartridges are a Scam," hit the internet five days ago and has already had more than half a million views.

So are you paying too much for your ink? KELOLAND Investigates looks into it for you. 

Gregory Austin McConnell details his experience working in tech support in his now-viral video. 

"And my jaw drops.  We're selling packages of standard capacity multi-color ink cartridges for $59.99. And the cost of manufacturing? 23 cents!" McConnell said in YouTube video "Ink Cartridges are a Scam." 

"It's definitely a scam. It's making the consumer spend more money than is necessary," Manager of Cartridge World Kendra Sandbulte said. 

Want proof?  Sandbulte says the Minnehaha County government is saving big money by refilling its ink cartridges at this store each month instead of buying new. 

"On average each of their orders, they're saving close to $2,000 to $3, 000," Sandbulte said. 

That's $36,000 a year in taxpayer savings," Sandbulte said. 

"The most expensive liquid in the world, right behind King Cobra venom, scorpion venom, Chanel Number 5, insulin and mercury ($2700 per gallon)," McConnell said in "Ink Cartridges are a Scam." 

So why isn't everyone going to get ink cartridge refills? 

"They have made it more difficult. They have created certain printers that will only accept original products; or they put out advertisements that say our quality is the best. Your printers will not work with something that is not from us," Sandbulte said. 

In 2016, HP apologized for blocking rival printer cartridges. 

Last year the Supreme Court ruled against the big ink manufacturers, and in favor of the consumer having choice in the matter. 

"They need to get away from this practice of forcing the consumer to buy their product. Have they done it? No I think they're really dragging their feet," Sandbulte said.

Causing McConnell to act on his frustration and take a sledgehammer to his printer. 

You can chose to forego the ink cartridge altogether by buying a laser printer, which takes a toner cartridge. It will cost you more money up front, but save you money in the long run. 

Statement from HP Inc.: 
"It's an entertaining video. It made us laugh too. But HP's printers are the most reliable and high quality in the industry. And our Original HP Ink is the result of decades of R&D and hundreds of employees creating thousands of prototypes, helping to ensure that our customers' prints are always bright, clear and sharp. This is our promise," ---- Dana Lengkeek, HP Corporate Affairs.


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