Epson tolerates grey market goods

Epson tolerates grey market goods

I recently tried to order some replacement ink for my printer (an Epson 820). I placed an order online with the same place I had used before, DataBazaar. Here’s a picture of what I have always ordered, ink refill part # T026201

Here’s a picture of what they sent me, ink refill part # T026. Notice that absolutely does not say my printer model number on the package.

I contacted Epson support by email and explained what I ordered and what I got, and asked “Is there a difference in spec between the two inks? Will this work with my printer?”

First response

Thank you for contacting the Epson Connection.

Epson recommends that you use only genuine Epson ink cartridges which have
been manufactured by Epson using the most advanced quality processes and
inks specifically formulated for your Epson printer. The use of non-Epson
ink cartridges or ink refill may cause damage to your printer. These
products may also reduce the quality of your printer output.

Which of course is no answer at all. What I got was an actual Epson product. But a foreign package that conspicuously omits my printer’s model number. I asked again and was told

There should be no spec. difference. Most packaging will not have the full serial number for the cartridges. Thank you for your patience.

Isn’t that totally ridiculous? What does that mean that they don’t have the full serial number? This person is just making up answers.

DataBazaar is selling grey market ink. And Epson’s support is too lame to understand or care.

I contacted DataBazaar via their “24/7” email contact, but 48 hours later they have yet to respond. I then called them and they claim never to have received my email because of some “spam blocking.” Further, they told me the ink was fine, and when I explained that it did NOT have my printer model number on it, they explained that there wasn’t enough room on the packaging to list all the model numbers.

Okay, so I’m aggravated because I am dealing with a range of people that communicate badly, that cause extra work on my end, and that basically lie to me, but if I could step away from myself (believe me, it’s hard) and think about this from the manufacturer’s point of view – this is terrible for them. Printers and ink is a complete mess – there are so many different kinds of ink, so many supported printer models, lack of clarity around the quality issues of branded ink, paper, refillable stuff, and even more issues about hardware lockouts of generic ink without proprietary chips to enable them, etc. etc. Customers are not comfortable with the purchase, with so much mythology and misinformation flying. Shouldn’t buying new ink be as easy as filling up your car with gas? Annoyingly expensive, but pretty damn easy in terms of compatability.

And now, the manufacturer and the retailer themselves – the ones that sell the Epson product – are creating confusion and mistrust. It’s bad enough to fend off misinformation from the competition, but even your own supply chain is filled with crap.

I feel bad for Epson.

Update: I opened the package and the actual product itself looked identical to North American version I took out of the printer.


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