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Fake Printing Supplies Is A Huge Problem

There was a time when counterfeit goods were mostly associated with luxury items such as jewellery and designer accessories. With the passage of time, counterfeiting has evolved from small-time crime involving third-rate knock-offs to a sophisticated global criminal network afflicting all industries and markets including printing supplies, which concerns HP and other legitimate producers of ink and toner.

Businesses and consumers stand to lose the most as illicit ink and toner poses a number of threats and risks to the quality and integrity of their work. Consider that counterfeit merchandise frequently leaks or doesn’t work properly, and that it can ruin a printer and may invalidate its warranty. Environmentally, copycat supplies waste paper because of poor print quality and don’t qualify for HP’s Planet Partners recycling program. Rather than saving money, fake ink can be more expensive in the long run. What’s more, and certainly not least of the considerations, counterfeiting is a criminal activity and siphons valid jobs and tax revenues out of the economy.

But HP is fighting back. Its cooperation with law enforcement authorities is helping to identify and seize counterfeit products, cut off distribution channels and prosecute fraudsters. Since late 2008, more than 2,500,000 finished counterfeits and components have been seized in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

HP anticipates that its more aggressive stance will make further inroads to help reduce what is calculated to be an 8 percent counterfeit rate in the nearly €30 billion market for consumables in the EMEA region. In addition to its own successful anti-counterfeit programme, HP has joined forces with key international consortiums whose mandate is to fight counterfeits.

Both the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe (ICCE) and Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) connect and mobilize businesses as well as pool resources and expertise to combat counterfeiting.

Part of their challenge is educating people who, in many instances, purchase counterfeit merchandise unwittingly. An emphasis on discriminating between genuine and false goods, in addition to emphasizing the pitfalls and potential consequences of using and consuming illegitimate products, enables businesses and individuals to make smart choices. In fact, research indicates that important ‘counterfeit deterrents’ include risk to health and personal property and the possibility of missing out on better service and warranties. In other words, better information inspires pro-original behaviour.

This is true, too, when it comes to ink and toner. Users need to reject counterfeits and always choose original HP supplies. It’s good for their business and bad for criminal counterfeiters. That’s an authentic win-win.

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