[SOLVED] Cheap toner cartridge sucks. Why?

KublaiKhan

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May 24, 2015
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I have an old HP LaserJet 1000, connected to an old Windows XP machine. HP never updated its drivers beyond Windows XP. The printer has served me well for over 20 years. I could buy a new laser printer, but that feels immoral at a certain level.

It uses a HP 15A toner cartridge. I used to pick them up at the local Staples.

I've seen the cartridge online for $150 and $30. I bought one off eBay for about $30. It appeared new, in the correct box, and sealed. But output is awful: weak, thin letters with black smudges and ghosting here and there. I put the old cartridge back in, and quality returned to normal.

I understand I got what I paid for, but what did I get? What would cause a cartridge to be so bad?

Thanks!
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Not sure where you found them for 150, they are 100 from HP directly https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-15a-black-original-laserjet-toner-cartridge and same price in many other places.

It may not be fully fake, but just re-filled with 3rd party toner. They are not counterfeiting a $30 product, it's a $100 product they are selling for $30. Heck they make fake flash drives that are $20 new.

Also keep in mind that since more product and packaging is made in China, it's not hard to just ask the same factory that makes the real things to just copy them for you, or have someone else copy it cheaply. Look at all of the cheaper keyboard and mice, they are often the same product in different colors and brand names.
 

KublaiKhan

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May 24, 2015
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Are they going to the trouble of manufacturing perfect replicas of the original boxes for a measly $30 product? I suppose it's practical with the slave labor used in some countries, but....wow. The older cartridge is embossed with the model number of MB4-5308-V1, which the new one has MB4-5308-T4-3M. From the exterior, I see no structural differences in the cartridges. If it is counterfeit, perhaps the method of counterfeiting involves substituting the manufacturer's toner with an inferior product, while using original cartridges and packaging—some sort of unauthorized recycling operation?

My working assumption was that it was very old stock someone was trying to unload, and only more expensive items were prone to counterfeiting.
 
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