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Choosing counterfeit cartridges over genuine ink – is it worth faking it?

A lot of research goes into purchasing a printer, but when it comes to buying ink and toner supplies, it's not always the case - and this can often be a costly mistake.

There are vast differences between genuine ink and counterfeit supplies that could impact everything from the quality of the output and in the most extreme cases, your own health. 

Counterfeit products are copy or imitation products, generally bearing the branding or name of authentic goods in order to deceive consumers but are fakes.  These goods not only violate trademark and intellectual property rights law but are also not checked for health and safety and environmental compliance. Yes, counterfeits are cheaper than original supplies, but at what cost?

Top five differences between counterfeit and original printer cartridges


1. Print results

Genuine supplies, also referred to as original supplies, are manufactured by the same company as your printer. They are created to work seamlessly together, therefore achieving the best print results. Brother printer supplies are made to work in perfect harmony with Brother printers and those used in independent testing by the Buyers Lab, 2018¹, delivered 100% flawless reliability. 

In the same tests, Brother genuine toner cartridges offered exceptional quality images with a wide colour range and reliable page yields to produce business-ready documents, compared to a lower quality from counterfeit alternatives.

2. Health risks for you and your printer 

Genuine supplies meet ISO standards, so users can guarantee their safety and quality.  They are put through a rigorous quality control process, with regular inspections and testing, protecting you, your print investment as well as securing the warranty of your device. Counterfeit supplies don’t have this stamp of approval.

Untested counterfeit supplies may leak and over time this could build up and lead to wear on components and paper jams, potentially leading to downtime of a device. A leaking counterfeit toner or ink cartridge can also get on your hands, clothes and work area and in some cases, they may contain a hazardous level of chemicals.
Genuine supplies chemicals are carefully sourced and come with COSHH2 guidance. Brother printer inks are fully compliant with the EU REACH and RoHS chemicals regulations so you know you’re getting a safe, high quality print every time. To ensure the safety of your device - and your own safety - always choose genuine. 

3. Environmental impacts

Have you considered what happens to your printer cartridges when they are empty? When you opt for genuine, there is an environmental benefit as Brother printer ink is designed with sustainability in mind and can be sent back to Brother’s free return and recycling scheme.

Returned Brother toner cartridges are remanufactured so they can be placed back on the market. Remanufacturing toners uses 37%3 less CO2 than producing a new toner and our recycling facilities are certified zero waste to landfill.  You cannot be confident that a counterfeit supplier offers the same environmental benefits.

4. Social responsibility

Brother continues to make efforts to help the global environment regarding socially-critical issues such as climate change, resource depletion, environmental pollution and destruction of the ecosystem. We are the longest standing partner of award-winning charity Cool Earth. And, for each consumable returned to us, we make a donation to stop deforestation. Our partnership has ensured the protection of over 9,000 acres4 of rainforest so far in Papua New Guinea and Peru. 

By using and returning your genuine consumables you know you are contributing towards a more circular economy, ensuring jobs in Europe, reducing waste and saving CO2 emissions. 

Brother is committed to being a responsible, ethical and sustainable business. We strive to ensure that corporate social responsibility lies at the heart of our fair and respectable working practices. We continually work with many organisations such as Trading Standards, the police and criminal prosecutors to remove dangerous counterfeit supplies from the marketplace, protecting you and your office equipment. 

5. How to spot a fake

Counterfeit cartridges can often look like genuine products by detailed replication of the packaging used for genuine supplies. But there are ways to spot a fake product.
Brother original inks are marked with a holographic security label and by using a data matrix code reader app, you can scan the hologram to confirm your product's authenticity. 

You should also ensure the packaging has not been tampered with and check the security label is not damaged or torn. Look out for spelling errors or poor-quality cartons that do not match the Brother corporate brand colours. Visit www.brother.com/id for more information. 

To find and buy genuine Brother ink and toner cartridges, click here.
A close-up shot of a Brother genuine supplies hologram on a toner cartridge package.
1 Buyers lab report https://www.brother.co.uk/supplies/genuine-ink-cartridges-and-toner-cartridges
2 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)  https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/
3 Study conducted internally within Brother. LCA results herein were provided on the basis of Brother's self-declaration and were not verified by independent third parties.
4 Finding the best ways to support local people to protect their rainforest since 2007 https://www.coolearth.org/partners/brother-international/

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