There has been much discussion lately regarding the cost of ink. As manufacturers lower their price on printers, they in turn raise the prices on cartridges that allow you to continue printing. If only you could compare how much ink is contained in a cartridge prior to purchase.
The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) 95th Interim Meeting is being held January 24 - 27, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The NCWM is an organization of weights and measures officials of the states, counties and cities of the United States, federal agencies and private sector representatives. These meetings bring together government officials and representatives of business, industry, trade associations, and consumer organizations on subjects related to the field of weights and measures technology, administration and enforcement. NIST participates to promote uniformity among the states in laws, regulations, methods, and testing equipment that comprise the regulatory control of commercial weighing and measuring devices and other trade and commerce issues.
One of the significant agenda items that will be considered is the Method of Sale of Commodities Regulation, including Packaged Printer Ink and Toner Cartridges. The NCWM Laws and Regulations Committee (L&R Committee) will discuss a proposed method of ink sales that would clarify the labeling requirements for packaged inkjet and toner cartridges to ensure that consumers are informed about the net quantity of contents of these products so that value comparisons can be made.
One recent consumer advocate study estimated that consumers could save billions of dollars a year if they were armed with full information about how much it would cost to operate various printers. The American Consumer Institute, in a study in late 2008, said that consumers were being lured into a bad deal by buying the lower cost printers and then overpaying an estimated $6 billion per year for Original Manufacturers ink cartridges. The push for more exact information, including a "liquid measure" has finally gotten enough attention to urge this meeting between NCWM regulators and manufacturers over how the cartridges are to be labelled.
An attorney for Lexmark
argues that ink use varies due to print quality chosen, and that the cost of the ink is only a small part of the cartridge, a sophisticated micro-machine, and its related cost and therefore disclosing ink volumes would actually be misleading to consumers. NCWM is told to expect a fight from such manufacturers accustomed to being exempt from labelling laws.
Many ink and toner manufacturers and retailers, such as Clickinks.com
, do self regulate, providing customers with an average page yield like shown below. If you are purchasing a new printer it is highly recommended that you do some research to find page yield per cartridge on your own, at least until all manufacturers are required to follow suit, labelling printer ink and toner cartridges with such measurements.