I learned something new the other day.  I asked one of our suppliers why a copier manufacturer was replacing a perfectly good model with the same thing that was more expensive and a little faster.  After all, the original model was “Copier of the Year” in it’s category in 2010.  He told me that when a copier has been out long enough good generic toners start showing up and this upsets the manufacturers since toner is where they make most of their money.

This is similar to the razor blade business where the profits are in the blades not the razor.  I can assure you that I for one think razor blades are a rip off.  OEM toner which is good quality is also overpriced.  All new printer and copier models enjoy a honeymoon for a year or two while they have no competition from lower priced generic toners.

That explains a riddle to me.  I’ve often wondered over the years why printer and copier manufacturers replace models that are ‘bullet proof’.  Think of the old HP printers which lasted forever.  I can think of some new copier models that were great and their replacement was not as good.

And now I know the answer.  The manufacturer was concerned because their dealers discovered lower price generic toners that were just as good.  This allows the dealers to quote lower priced maintenance agreements as most agreements include toner.  So not only are used copiers usually 25% of original MSRP but the available toner is usually half of the OEM toner resulting in additional savings.

Most copier dealers have the service department review the generic toners before introducing them to the customer base to make sure it doesn’t create copy quality problems.  You can be assured that any generic toner savings from us will be passed on in the form of lower prices and that it is monitored by the service guys to make sure it is just as good.  If there isn’t a good generic we let the customer know.

In summary, I can’t blame the manufacturers for doing this since it makes business sense.  It’s just that in these times of frugality people want to save money on everything including toner and it’s more readily available with used copiers.  Now I just wish they would lower the cost of razor blades!

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