PCWorld’s “Serial Refiller” has published the results of his latest experiment in using non-OEM HP 60 black and tricolor cartridges. This time, columnist Jeff Bertolucci reviews his experience in using Cartridge Word remanufactured cartridges. Saying he is too “stingy” to buy OEM printer cartridges, Bertolucci has been reviewing a variety of alternatives, including Costco’s refilling service, Office Depot remans, and InkTec’s do-it-yourself home refill kit “(see News Briefings, “PCWorld Reviews Costco’s Retail Inkjet Refilling Service” and “PCWorld Says Office Depot-Brand Remanufactured Inkjet Cartridges Offer Lower Prices and Lower Print Quality”).
Ease of Use and Quality
The article finds that the Cartridge World remanufactured cartridges are much easier to use than the home refill kit tested. The author notes that remanufactured cartridges result in the printer displaying warning messages about a “counterfeit or used cartridge” being detected. Bertolucci describes the output quality of the Cartridge World remans as “ good enough for everyday printing, but not on a par with the quality I saw from OEM ink. “He says that the output quality of the Cartridge World remans and the Office Depot remans were about equivalent. Both produced slightly better output quality than the cartridges the author had refilled at Costco, but all three were worse than the print quality produced by OEM cartridges. The refilling option that produced the highest print quality, in the author’s view, was InkTec’s refill kit. However, based on other factors such as convenience and cost and the acceptable print quality, Bertolucci describes Costco’s refilling service as the best option he has tried so far.
Sky High Online Pricing
The reviewer complains that Cartridge World in-store and website pricing is inconsistent, noting that paid $12.99 for the black remanufactured HP 60 and $15.99 for the tricolor remanufactured HP 60 in store, while online prices from Cartridge World are $15.32 and $18.55, respectively. (See Cartridge World website for HP 60 black and color cartridges.) Cartridge World also charges $1.99 for shipping per inkjet cartridge for online purchases. When Bertolucci contacted Cartridge World for more information about the pricing discrepancy, he was told that store franchisees set their own pricing.
What Bertolucci does not note—and what struck us as most unusual about Cartridge World’s online pricing—is that Cartridge World actually charges more for its black reman online than HP does for its original cartridge. HP sells the HP 60 black and tricolor cartridges for $14.99 and $19.99, respectively, at its online store. Moreover, HP offers with free shipping, which makes even the OEM HP 60 tricolor cartridge color a better value than the Cartridge World SKU, which costs $20.98 including shipping. Cartridge World also sells OEM HP 60 cartridges online at $16.27 for the black cartridge and $20.83 for the color cartridge. In addition, Cartridge World charges a steep shipping fee of $6 per cartridge for shipping OEM SKUs.
Cartridge World’s policy of letting franchisees set their own prices actually makes a good deal of sense. Cartridge World’s online prices—at least for the HP 60 SKUs—simply aren’t all that competitive, and franchisees would have to charge less than their supplier’s online prices to be competitive Allowing franchisees to set pricing also allows local stores to evaluate pricing in their local channels and adjust their own pricing accordingly. That way, store franchisees can avoid what has happened with Cartridge World’s online pricing for the HP 60 SKUs in comparison with the OEM’s online pricing.