HP Inc has spoken out over the threat counterfeit kit poses to its resellers after revealing it recently took over 2,000 fake cartridges off the UK market.
In three actions performed at the end of last year, the vendor's anti-counterfeit team identified fake cartridges at a ‘major' UK distributor and authorities raided two further companies for selling fakes online.
Talking to CRN, Neil Sawyer, channel sales, education and SMB director for UK & Ireland and HP Inc, said that cracking down on black market activity in the consumables market is a priority for the vendor this year.
"We have an absolutely zero-tolerance approach to any counterfeit product as it is extremely damaging to our brand and extremely damaging to our channel partners," he said.
"Clearly we can't comment on the legal activities we are undertaking but rest assured it is significant and meaningful."
Sawyer (pictured) said HP Inc was keen to speak out over the issue in order to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit kit unwittingly being sold by authorised partners.
"We want to make people aware of this, not to discourage people from trading in that market - because 99.9 per cent of our partners are not interested in it - but because we want people to be vigilant just in case it is mixed in with legitimate product and our partners and end customers are getting a rough deal," he said.
HP Inc now has a website designed to help end users identify whether their cartridges are bogus by either checking the security label or scanning the QR code.
As well as being of inferior quality, fakes can also ruin printers, or can even be dangerous, Sawyer said.
Some 20,000 HP-branded items have been taken off the market across the EU over the past 12-18 months, Sawyer revealed. The UK distributor involved in the action at the end of 2015 was not an HP partner, the vendor said, but would not disclose its identity.
"We are absolutely focused on stamping this out with HP's anti-counterfeit team," Sawyer said. "But we also want to make sure our channel is aware of this so they can watch out for the tell-tale signs of counterfeit product being offered to them. Often the most alarming indicator is a very cheap price that is too good to be true. If any resellers or distributors are concerned about that then our anti-counterfeit team are available to handle it."
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