FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
- What constitutes a counterfeit print cartridge?
- How serious is counterfeiting?
- Are counterfeit print cartridges and remanufactured/refilled print cartridges the same thing?
- What is fraud?
- Why should I care?
- How is HP protecting its customers?
- When should customers become suspicious that they may have bought counterfeit products?
- How can I protect myself against dubious offers?
- How can I report fake products?
- Which original HP products carry a security label?
- What are the risks or possible consequences of using a counterfeit print cartridge?
- How does the HP ACF Programme EMEA fight counterfeiting and fraudulent marketing of counterfeits?
- Why is HP so committed in its ACF efforts?
- What made HP launch Toner Cartridge Authentication Software?
- What’s a QR code?
- How to download a QR code scanner
- Which devices support the HP Mobile Authentication feature?
- What if my mobile device won’t support a QR code scanner?
- Is there a charge to validate an HP security label using the HP Mobile Authentication feature?
Counterfeiting in the printing supplies business means the manufacturing, refilling or remanufacturing (‘reman’) of a print cartridge with the intention to market it in a way which suggests that it is an original brand name product when this is not the case. This usually involves putting a reman/refill into into a box that closely resembles genuine HP packaging, which can deceive customers into paying a higher price, believing the print cartridge to be a legitimate, original HP product.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates the annual value of international trade in all counterfeit goods at $200 billion. The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) believe that counterfeiting drains an estimated EUR 500 billion per year from the global economy, equivalent to the loss of about 5-8% of trade in brand-name goods worldwide, including the illegal trade in fake print cartridges. It is estimated that around 200,000 jobs are lost in Europe alone due to counterfeiting activities.
No. Customers should not confuse counterfeiting with legitimate refilled/remanufactured products, which are sold or offered in such a way that does not confuse or potentially confuse customers into believing they are brand new genuine HP products. An example of a legitimate refilled product would be a product which clearly states “refill” or “remanufactured”, which does not misuse the HP logo to give the impression it has been made by HP, but uses a refiller company name; and generally does not misuse the design elements of an original HP print cartridge and its packaging.
Fraud is an act of deceiving or misrepresenting by presenting an intentional perversion of the truth intended to induce a person to part with something of value, usually money. While fraud can occur without the presence of counterfeit products, counterfeiting itself is a form of fraud.
Although counterfeit print cartridges may look like genuine HP print cartridges, they don’t provide you with the high print quality, proven reliability, and consistent yields you have come to expect from HP products.
The potential risks of using counterfeit print cartridges include poor quality print-outs, reduced page yields, print cartridges which fail prematurely or do not work at all, printer damage which may require repair, interruption of printing infrastructure and workflow, as well as potential invalidation of hardware warranties. Poor or inconsistent print quality is a primary indicator of non-original products.
In addition to providing our customers with information and tools to assist them in properly identifying genuine cartridges versus counterfeit cartridges, HP also investigates suspected counterfeit activities and then partners with law enforcement and customs officials around the world who then perform seizures and make arrests. The resulting penalties and sentencing of criminals are then administered through local criminal justice systems.
In the last four years, the Programme has overseen the following in Europe, the Middle East and Africa:
- Around 1,000 investigations
- About 600 enforcement actions (raids and seizures by authorities)
- Around 8 million seized finished counterfeits and components intended for illegal re-use
- Over 3,000 Channel Partner Anti-counterfeit Audits
HP has very high quality standards for all products, including printing supplies. Original HP printing supplies are always delivered new – never refilled or remanufactured – and usually come in unopened, high quality packaging. Therefore, the following indicators might point to counterfeit products:
- The print quality of a print cartridge is poor and/or inconsistent.
- Printing supplies are delivered in packaging that appears to have been tampered with or the packaging is of poor quality.
- Print cartridges are covered with toner dust or ink or they leak inside the printer.
- The print cartridge fails – the failure rate of a counterfeit product is extremely high.
- The yield of a print cartridge (number of possible printouts) is very low.
For more information, please read how you can protect yourself against counterfeit print cartridges or report your suspicions to HP.
If an offer sounds ‘too good to be true’, it probably is. To avoid falling victim to dubious offers, you should only buy from HP’s authorised sales channels. Through the HP Smart Partner Locator on the HP website [include link to www.hp.com], you can find a list of HP’s Supplies Partners for your country.
Click here to report any questionable activities related to counterfeit cartridges: report counterfeit.
HP will keep the information confidential to the extent permitted by law and will only share it on a need to know basis. HP does not provide warranty support or product replacement for counterfeit cartridges.
All original monochrome HP LaserJet and HP Color LaserJet print cartridge boxes carry an HP security label in every country in the world, but not every inkjet print cartridge carries a security label. In fact, in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region, most original HP inkjet print cartridge boxes in Western Europe do not feature an HP security label, while in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, most HP inkjet boxes do have the label. For details of when to expect a label on HP inkjet print cartridge boxes sold in this region, please refer to the ‘Check your Purchases (PDF 1.9 MB)’ Info Sheet that is available for download.
End-users may experience the following problems if they use counterfeit print cartridges in their HP printers:
- Counterfeit products frequently leak or do not work properly.
- Customers may experience sub-standard print quality and reduced page yields (number of pages printed) due to inferior components.
- Counterfeit products are unlikely to save money in the long-term, as they are more likely to fail.
- Counterfeit products can ruin a printer and may invalidate its warranty.
- Counterfeit products can waste paper through poor print quality.
- Counterfeit products can contain harmful ingredients that result from practices damaging to the environment.
- Counterfeit products do not benefit from the HP’s recycling program called Planet Partners.
HP is serious about protecting its trademarks and its brand through investigations that span borders to disrupt the international trade of illicit products.
The HP ACF Programme raises awareness among HP partners, customers and local authorities about when to become suspicious and how to report leads. Investigative consultants examine all leads, in order to identify significant dealers and manufacturers of counterfeits and then assist local authorities during follow-up enforcement action. In addition, the programme ensures the stocks of HP’s Distributor and Reseller partners are free of counterfeits, by conducting random inspections (Channel Partner Anti-Counterfeit Audits). HP is also an active member of a number of not-for-profit international brand owners’ associations worldwide, supporting governments and law enforcement authorities.
Since print cartridges play a pivotal role in the smooth operation of HP printing systems, HP makes significant investments in imaging and printing research and development to engineer each HP print cartridge precisely, as well as a consistent toner and ink formulation to work in harmony with HP LaserJet and inkjet printers.
For example, up to 100 chemists work on HP ink formulations, and it can take many years to develop a single formulation to provide HP customers with the superior quality and reliability they expect from HP.
HP printing cartridges are susceptible to counterfeiting and the Toner Cartridge Authentication software (which is free) indicates whether the installed cartridge is an Original HP LaserJet toner cartridge or an alternative supply, such as a counterfeit cartridge. If the cartridge is not a genuine HP cartridge, users are presented with additional information to address potential counterfeiting. If a user receives a notification when they believe they have purchased an Original HP cartridge they will be directed to HP’s Anti-counterfeit website (hp.com/go/anticounterfeit) to report the potential counterfeit cartridge.
Simply put, a QR code is a Quick Response barcode. QR codes can be encoded with text, a URL, or other data and decoded at high-speed by smartphones with built-in cameras. The QR codes on the new HP security seals contain serial numbers to allow quick verification of product authenticity.
- Go to your App store.
- Select a QR code scanner app, such as i-nigma or HP's eSupplies app.
- Download the app to your smartphone.
Customers can validate security labels with QR codes using any Internet-connected device with a web browser or QR code reader, including smartphones or desktop or notebook computers. To read the QR code, customers can use any QR code reader application available for smartphone or tablet devices such as i-nigma. Customers can also download the HP eSupplies app, which is optimized for HP QR codes and HP Mobile Authentication. The HP eSupplies app is available for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod Touch® from the iTunes App Store.*
*iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod Touch® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
You can validate HP security labels online:
- Go to www.hp.com/go/ok
- Follow the instructions to visually inspect the label.
- Enter the serial number from the label.
HP does not charge customers to check security labels on cartridge packaging using HP Mobile Authentication. Since HP Mobile Authentication transfers information using the Internet connection on a smartphone or PC, the standard Internet connection rate per your wireless carrier or Internet provider will apply. HP Mobile Authentication requires a minimal amount of data usage to validate a cartridge. Users with a pay-per-use data plan should expect charges similar to visiting other websites.
Useful links and downloads
To inform yourself further about counterfeiting, you may find the following links and documents useful: