“ Compatible inks and Toners from under a Squid. „
I've had an old HP C7280 printer for years. It's not exactly been a satisfactory machine: just after the one year initial period was up it stopped printing black, a well-known fault with this machine and others which use the HP363 print cartridge. I claimed a refund from PC World and got most of my money back after a prolonged campaign, including threatening them with the Small Claims Court. However, I didn't dispose of the printer. Eventually, through the HP Forum, I discovered a suggested solution from the the hundreds and hundreds of responses to this particular fault (possibly HP's longest running issue - over 20 pages of comments to date). In my case it did actually work. I had, in the meantime, already bought another printer, this time a Canon MX860, which has performed faultlessly since I bought it. So, I now had two printers and so whilst my wife uses the Canon in her office, I decided to install the HP downstairs for easy access. What I needed though, was new ink cartridges. One thing was for sure, I wouldn't continue to buy genuine HP cartridges. I had used these throughout the warranty period so, not using genuine cartridges was definitely NOT the cause of the problem. As it happened, I needed a new cartridge fairly urgently and so, rather than order on-line I went in to town to see what I could get. After comparing prices at the "usual suspects" I decided to try the Cartridge World shop, of which we have one nearby. Their prices were acceptable but, more interestingly, they sold what they called their extra capacity cartridge for £7 each. I bought one. This cartridge is not actually one of their own brand. It differs from all other HP363 cartridges in that the body is clear and about twice the size of a normal cartridge. Normal HP363s come in normal and extra capacity versions but it's only the amount of ink with which they are filled that is the difference. The body size is the same in both cases and opaque, so you can't actually see how much is in it. However, with the CW extra capacity versions, the ink capacity is very clearly far greater than a standard cartridge, no matter how much ink that contains. Not only that but you can see how much is in it and so can see if the printer is lying (as they do) when they say it is empty and should be replaced. I continued to buy these from Cartridge World for a few years but recently, when I needed a replacement, I discovered that they no longer sold them. I was forced to buy the "normal" extended capacity cartridge but that set me off searching the Web to see if I could buy the larger version on-line. Certainly my usual source of cartridges for the Canon doesn't sell them and, on enquiry, said they had no plans to stock them. Eventually, after trying website after website I came across a new site I had never seen before - The Ink Squid. I checked their site for HP363 cartridges and there, clearly illustrated, were the exact cartridges for which I was searching. Not only that but they were almost half the price of Cartridge World. I registered my details with the site and ordered the three replacement cartridges I needed. The total came to just under £12, postage free. The actual ordering process was simple and painless and I got two emails, one confirming my registration and another confirming my order. However, what I didn't get was an email confirming dispatch! I discovered that The Ink Squid has a page on Facebook and so thought it would be worth posting a comment there asking if I should be expecting a further email, not really expecting I would get a reply, not having gone though the "normal" Customer Service channels. However, I was very pleased to get a prompt response confirming that I should indeed have received a dispatch email but that the software that they use had a glitch, which had been reported to the software company. He also confirmed that my order had been dispatched and to contact them if it didn't arrive within a day. As it happened they arrived in that day's midday post. I opened the jiffy bag but was very surprised to see, not the illustrated cartridges but the normal sized ones! I took a photo of one of the supplied cartridges alongside one of the old cartridges, of which I still had one that was not yet depleted. I then posted the photo and a comment on Facebook. I got a prompt response admitting that the cartridges supplied were not as illustrated, with an apology and an offer of a second set to be sent out immediately, free-of-charge. Apparently they were out-of-stock of the ones I had ordered. Those arrived within a day or so. So, what to think of The Ink Squid? Well, I'm pleased to have discovered another supplier to compete with my usual one. The actual purchase process has been simple and their prices competitive. True, there was the email glitch but that was hardly their fault. True, there was the delivery of something other than what was ordered but that was resolved fairly and without complaint. On the basis of this, my first experience, I would be prepared to use The Ink Squid again without hesitation. Let's hope that next time it is a completely trouble-free experience.