Saturday, January 25, 2003

Lexmark: It's All About the Ink

Those who believe that Lexmark offers printers at low prices and makes up the loss by selling expensive ink cartridges are right:
Printer maker Lexmark International Inc. on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, powered by growth in sales of replacement ink cartridges for its inkjet and laser printers.
In 1999, I bought a Lexmark for $100 and got a $50 rebate. Excited about having an inkjet printer after years of using a noisy dot matrix, I did no research into the pricing of ink cartridges. I have no one to blame but myself, but Lexmark's bait-and-switch is still obnoxious for a number of reasons.

First, it is almost as cheap to buy a new Lexmark printer (one of the lower end models) as it is to buy a replacement cartridge for it. My model came with a cartridge, so for about $20 more than the price of a cartridge, I could have a new printer for each refill I've bought.

Second, Lexmark could cut out the rebates and price its cartridges lower. I would gladly have paid $100 for the printer for the sake of paying $20 for a refill.

Third, Lexmark does not offer reconditioned cartridges, whereas the other printer makers do.

Finally, the cartridges often cease to work for no discernable reason, even when the ink meter shows ink left.

I won't be buying a Lexmark again. From what I've read, certain Canon models have a low cost per page. Unfortunately, I suckered Ernie into buying the same Lexmark model.

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