From saving energy to reducing wasteful printing practices, reducing expenses is something all of us try to do. But sometimes choices that seem to save money can cost more in the long run. Knock-off toner falls squarely into this category. When it comes to toner, a deal that’s too good to be true, probably is.

Definitely Not a Good Deal

Here are just a few reasons why cheap toner isn’t a good deal.

  • Cheap toner is often counterfeit. While the label may be for a major brand, the product inside is significantly inferior, and will produce poor quality documents.
  • Counterfeit toner can damage your devices. Using cheap toner may also void your product warranty, resulting in expensive repairs.
  • Guess what? You may be in possession of stolen goods. Counterfeiters steal large quantities of toner, then reuse the packaging to sell counterfeit products to unsuspecting consumers.

How to Avoid a Toner Scam

Knowing what to look for is your first line of defense in avoiding counterfeit toner scams.

  • Prices that seem too low. Know what you should pay and be suspicious of deals that seem unreasonably low.
  • Going out of business sales. Legitimate sources don’t hound customers with stories of liquidation sales, overstocked inventory sales, and sad tales of going out of business. Again.
  • Cash only requirements. In 2016? Really? Stay away from cash-only deals!
  • Cold sales calls. If you’ve never heard of the guy cold-calling your office and sounding way too familiar, chances are good you’re dealing with a toner pirate. Designate one person or department for supply ordering, and stick with your trusted vendor when purchasing ink or toner.
  • Leaking cartridges. Leaks are a sign of tampering.
  • Suspicious packaging. Your vendor won’t try to sell you toner with damaged packaging. Also, be wary of opened packaging, missing labels, or anything else that looks different.