Xerox Warns Users to Beware of Fake, Clone Toner Cartridges


Xerox recently issued a warning to end-users and resellers alike, advising them to beware of fake, clone toner cartridges and supplies for printers and MFPs.

Clone cartridges are 100-percent newly built cartridges produced by third-party manufacturers to look like the real thing. Often sold as “remanufactured” and with a strong environmental message, the firm says clone cartridges are neither the real thing nor environmentally responsible. (In contrast, non-clone third-party printer supplies are not designed to fool the customer that they are purchasing the OEM [original equipment manufacturer] brand. They typically display the name of a different company, and don’t display the name of the OEM.)

Xerox explains that counterfeit clone supplies are typically offered at a discount compared to the OEM price. However, it says that although clone cartridges appear to be less costly, they aren’t, as image quality is typically poor, failure rates are high (as shown in our recent testing), and damage to the printer is common.

The firm states that the majority of clone cartridges are manufactured in Asia and sold under a variety of aliases, so it’s never clear who manufactured the cartridge, which may be intentional.

Health and Toxicity Concerns

One thing to be concerned with is that it’s often not clear what chemicals are used, and these chemicals can be toxic to end-users who inhale or touch the toner.

Destined for Landfills

Xerox notes that, unlike OEM and legitimate toner-cartridge remanufacturers, clone manufacturers realize that the low quality does not enable remanufacturing, and therefore they rarely take back depleted cartridges. The remaining disposal option is a landfill.

Hazardous Waste Concerns

Xerox states that OEMs “responsibly evaluate all materials used in their cartridges for environmental toxicity and biodegradability, and publish guidelines for safe disposal.” Clone manufacturers don’t do this, and depleted toner cartridges that end up in landfills could potentially  leak harmful contaminants into the soil and into drinking water.

Clones Cost Everyone More

Patent, trademark and copyright violations by clone manufacturers force OEMs to spend millions in court defending their intellectual-property rights. These costs are ultimately passed on to customers in the form of higher toner-cartridge prices.

High Failure Rates, Poor Image Quality

According to Xerox, clone manufacturers copy the OEM  cartridge (but they don’t incorporate any OEM hardware or toner into their toner cartridge), and sacrifice quality for the lowest possible cost. Problems associated with clone toner cartridges include:

  • Catastrophic toner-leakage within the printer, and contamination of critical xerographic components. Often the cost of repairing the printer exceeds the cost of replacing it.
  • Image quality is often poor and unpredictable, resulting in unimpressive, unprofessional, undesirable output.
  • Page yield is often below that of OEM cartridges, resulting in more frequent replacement and eliminating any true savings.

Xerox advises customers to only purchase toner cartridges from “honest and reputable sources.” Customers may also verify that their Xerox toner cartridge and solid ink displays an official Xerox security label to guard against unauthorized and counterfeit supplies. To find out more about what Xerox supplies, visit Xerox here.

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