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Partnering in the fight against fakes

Mathew Thomas, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey and East Africa, HP elaborates on the importance of partnering with the relevant authorities in the fight for counterfeit print products, which has become a growing problem for print markets in the region. He emphasizes that consumers must stay vigilant and avoid counterfeits by only purchasing from reputable retailers.

$3 billion – this is the impact counterfeiting has on the global printing supplies industry each year, the Imaging Supplies Coalition estimates. This means billions in lost revenue and damaged materials, often impacting channel vendors’ bottom line, and an immeasurable toll on the hard-earned reputation of each print service provider or channel partner who falls prey to criminal activity.

It’s a problem acutely felt by printer manufacturers worldwide. High demand for print supplies, including ink and toner, has caused a marked increase in the number of counterfeit print products appearing on the market, and the growth of online retail has only made it easier for counterfeiters to operate.

Counterfeit ink and toner leads to poor printout quality, affected print yields, printer downtime and extra costs, and loss of money due to non-functioning counterfeit cartridges. Testing done by Buyers Lab has shown that Original HP ink cartridges surpass non-HP alternatives by producing on average 50 per cent more pages. The same test revealed that more than 40 per cent of non-HP ink cartridges failed either being dead on arrival or expiring prematurely.

Counterfeit hardware is even more dangerous, presenting potentially serious health and safety risks, for example due to unsafe wiring and faulty machine components.

The sad truth is that some consumers, choosing to buy original products, end up as the victims of these crimes – often unwittingly until problems arise. Some are mis-sold cheaper – but legal – alternative products, and, at worst, some are supplied completely faked branded goods. Attractive deals advertising greatly reduced prices online may save some money now, but the consumer or business usually ends up paying over the odds further down the line.

The good news: when it comes to fighting counterfeiting, you’re not alone. Manufacturers like HP put in place anti-counterfeit Customer Delivery Inspections (CDIs) for end customers. These inspections are an effective way of protecting against hazardous counterfeit materials. Customers may request HP product experts will inspect large or medium-sized deliveries of HP printing supplies that are suspected to contain counterfeits. Inspections are carried out at the partner’s premises at their convenience and do not incur any costs. The goal of these inspections is to identify counterfeit products before they are sold on and reach the end consumer.

Working with both local authorities and its channel partners, HP has already notched up significant wins in the fight against fakes. In just six months last year, from May – October 2016, HP worked with law enforcement agencies across EMEA to seize 1.9 million counterfeit products. In the past two years, we’ve seen significant successful operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to name a few.

While CDIs are an effective tool to fight counterfeiting, there’s a lot businesses and consumers can do every day to protect themselves. Customers can identify counterfeit goods in three easy ways:

Scan the box – Use your smartphone to scan the QR code on an HP cartridge’s security seal – you’ll automatically be taken to our validation screen.

Check the labels – HP cartridges are supplied with both a holographic security label to validate authenticity, and a tamper-evident label with clear instructions to identify whether the product has been inferred with.

Head online – You can also validate serial numbers from our security labels online.

Buy print products from reputable retailers. Customers shouldn’t have any issues if they are buying printer cartridges and toner ink from established and reputable retail outlets and commercial resellers. Fake print products are a real problem – stay alert and stay ahead of the criminals, by following these simple steps to spot, report and avoid counterfeits.

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