This week it was announced that Malaysia will destroy £500,000 worth of counterfeit goods that have been seized since the beginning of 2012 - the majority of which are toner cartridges, which of course is a worrying sign for our industry. Fake cartridge sellers not only take your customers but give the industry a bad reputation.

The minister in charge of the operation claims that the cartridges were 'produced using empty cartridges from a certain brand before filling them with low-quality ink'.

Selling, buying, and using counterfeit cartridges is likely to lead to prosecution once you are found out, and believe me, if you have any involvement with fakes, it won't be long before you are. 

How do I tell a fake cartridge from an original, compatible or remanufactured cartridge?

It is easy to identify a compatible or remanufactured cartridge because the product will most likely be labelled and sold as a compatible or remanufactured product. The difficulty of identification becomes apparent with counterfeits and originals. The differences are subtle, especially if the fake cartridge has been handled with care during its' production. This, in combination with the fact that fakes are labelled as originals makes it hard to distinguish the difference between the fakes and the real deal. 

Things to look out for when identifying counterfeit cartridges:

- Abnormally low prices
- The distributor is small, unheard of, and often not from this country
- Obvious physical damage to the cartridge shell or worn surfaces
- Screws have been tampered with, or look poorly fitted
- Print quality is poor
- Leaks or explosions while in use, leading to printer damage
- Branded as originals despite all of the above issues



How can you help to solve the problem?

Firstly, it's important to remember that compatibles and remanufactured products aren't to be confused with counterfeits. Compatible and remanufactured cartridges both match the quality of OEM's in every aspect, from performance to reliability and yield. If you're looking for more affordable, yet equally as good alternatives to the OEM products, ECS's remanufactured and compatible products are ideal for you.

Make sure you buy British. The majority of counterfeit cartridges arrive in this country from overseas, particularly from certain parts of Europe. China is also a huge problem when it comes to counterfeit cartridges and are labelled as the world's leading counterfeiting superpower. Therefore, spending slightly more money on British made goods means that you will gain a high quality product while avoiding counterfeits.

There are also further benefits of buying British - check out our blog on 'Buying British'

If you have any further questions please feel free to email me at

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