Local authorities in East Africa, in partnership with HP, have successfully seized over 7,000 illicit items, including toner cartridges, across Kenya’s Nairobi area and Tanzania’s Dar Es Salaam and Mwanza areas.
Between July and September 2021, local authorities raided several commercial facilities following intelligence gathered by local HP partners, shutting down ten major sources of counterfeit cartridges for HP printers.
“For resellers and distributors, the sale of counterfeit printer and toner cartridges is an infringement of intellectual property, which can have serious reputational repercussions for consumers, illicit products can deliver a poor experience and damage hardware. Authentic ink and toner cartridges have been developed to deliver consistent quality results that users can trust,” said Bradley Pulford, VP and Managing Director, HP Africa “HP has a strong, and long-standing partnership with local authorities and partners across East Africa, which is leading to continued success in the fight against fraudulent print supplies. The continued success of our ACF programme in the region means we remain committed to protecting customers from illegal activities.”
Counterfeiting is an illicit activity which also has huge negative impacts on the businesses of both resellers and distributors. A recent study by the Organisation for European Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods represents up to 3.3% of world trade, or as much as USD $509 billion.
In the European Union (EU) alone, counterfeit and pirated goods amount to up to 6.8% of imports which amounts to as much as €121 billion. The report also highlights the effects which counterfeiting has on losses in revenue for both the government and companies, which can also result in direct and indirect job losses.
While counterfeit cartridges may look like genuine HP cartridges at a glance, they do not provide the high print quality, reliability, and yields that HP customers have come to expect from original HP supplies. Alarmingly, using counterfeit cartridges can entail serious risks. These risks can include cartridges which fail to work or do not work at all, and even cause expensive or irreparable damage to printers due to ink or toner leakages.
Original HP supplies are made as part of HP’s closed loop recycling program which ensures they do not end up in landfill at the end of their life. This has resulted in than 875 million Original HP Ink and Toner Cartridges being recycled by customers with HP Planet Partners, and more than 4.7 billion recycled plastic bottles have been used by HP to manufacture new Original HP Ink Cartridges.
Conversely, it is unlikely that counterfeit cartridges will be disposed of responsibly. Furthermore, due to their often-poor print quality and necessary re-prints, counterfeits are likely to waste valuable resources such as paper or energy.
In addition, HP offers its customers and partners “Customer Delivery Inspections”. This is a unique protection service which helps them identify and avoid potential counterfeits. The inspections are carried out at the customers’ premises and are free of charge for customers. If counterfeits are suspected, the inspector will ask for the name of the supplier and a copy of the proof of purchase to identify where the counterfeit products came from. These inspections are a key way of protecting HP’s valued customers from poor quality fakes, which may have worked their way into the supply chain.