A Computing Question Most Consumers Will Face: Advice on Buying a Tablet, laptop or Desktop

…volumes of data. When I say this to Apple enthusiasts, they retort that a Mac has the missing parts (starting at $1000, it certainly should!). Aside from adding capabilities, the tablet must support our routine work and it should play nicely with related equipment we have. We browse the Internet, mostly seeking text and PDF files. We are not avid music, magazine, book or video buyers. We create and edit text. We create and copy data into Excel, torture it with formulae then format and paste selections into a work product. We use Word’s advanced features. The tablet will need to work robustly with Excel and Word files. We also use Quick Books and TurboTax files imbedded with our data going back many years. We would like to use those on the tablet. It would be best if our laser and inkjet printers and a Wi-Fi / Bluetooth setup work…

Reader’s Digest Interviews ACI about Potential “Back to School Savings.”

Reader’s Digest Interviews Steve Pociask of ACI on potential “back to school” savings. In the September 2009 issue, on page 56, ACI provides information on what some are calling “the stink about ink” — the high cost of computer printer ink. The article offers readers to visit www.consumercalculator.com to get ACI’s estimates of printing costs for various printers. For more information and studies on this topic, visit the following stories below … http://www.theamericanconsumer.org/2009/06/11/steve-pociask-quoted-in-anne-kadets-article-printer-inks-murky-math-smartmoney-magazine-july-2009/ http://www.theamericanconsumer.org/2009/03/11/new-york-times-writes-about-acis-calculator/ http://www.theamericanconsumer.org/2008/11/07/what-is-the-real-cost-of-owning-a-printer-2/ http://www.theamericanconsumer.org/2008/09/16/ink-scam/ http://www.theamericanconsumer.org/2007/11/19/inkjet-prices-printing-costs-and-consumer-welfare/…

Steve Pociask Quoted in Anne Kadet’s Article “Printer Ink’s Murky Math,” SmartMoney Magazine, July 2009.

Anne Kadet’s article discusses the high cost of computer printer ink and correctly points out that: 1) printer costs per ink can very from 2 cents per black and white page to 14 cents, depending on the inkjet printer; 2) most manufacturers provide insufficient information on ink costs per page, which leads consumers to buy more costly to operate inkjet printers; and 3) over the life of the printer, consumers pay several times more for the ink than they do for the printer itself. The article quotes Steve Pociask as saying “consumers don’t have the right information to make the right choice.” The article can be found at http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/rip-offs/printer-inks-murky-math/?cid=1108#mod=BOL_hpp_footer. For more information on this issue, see our ConsumerGram or find the cost of a printer on our Consumer Calculator….

What is the Real Cost of Owning a Printer?

…it is important to know the full cost of ownership – both the upfront costs to buy the product and the annual or lifetime cost of operation. To make consumers aware of the full cost of ownership at the point of sale, new automobile price stickers provide estimated annual costs of fuel. Similarly, Energy Guide labels on new appliances, like refrigerators, show an estimated annual electricity cost to run the appliance. In both cases, the operating cost is much lower than the initial purchase price. In contrast, over the useful life of a printer, the cost of printing can overwhelm the cost of the printer itself. Simply put, consumers require better knowledge of the lifetime cost of ownership in order to make well-informed choices – not blind ones. The table below shows the initial retail costs for inkjet printers priced under $150 and their 3-year printing ink costs, and confirms…

Ink Scam!

…faster than the rate of inflation. Comparison of Luxury or Costly Liquids Price per Milliliter Company Price/ML Multicolor Inkjet Cartridge $ 5.14 Black Inkjet Cartridge $ 3.33 Prada Atomizer Parfum $ 1.19 Dom Perignon Champagne (1998) $ 0.17 Gasoline < $0.01 Prices Increasing, Consumers Losing The study reports that inkjet printers are priced with little or no margin and, according to some authorities, well below cost in many cases. The immediate result is to impede market entry. Moreover, because these cartridges are seldom interchangeable between different printer models, there appears to be diminished price competition in the inkjet cartridge market. The combination of the lack of price competition and barriers to entry has resulted in a concentrated market, as depicted below. The lack of competition has led to high ink prices and profits, according to the study. The available evidence and this study’s analysis suggests that competition in the inkjet

Inkjet Prices, Printing Costs and Consumer Welfare

Inkjet Prices, Printing Costs and Consumer Welfare Larry F. Darby Stephen B. Pociask November 19, 2007 Inkjet Prices, Printing Costs and Consumer Welfare Larry F. Darby Stephen B. Pociask* Executive Summary With the spread of computers into the average household, the costs of related technologies have become a source of rising concern to consumers. For instance, consumers are increasingly aware and concerned about the cost of using their computers, including the costs of software, maintenance and technical support and Internet services. In particular, there is increased awareness of computer printing costs reflected in the costs of inkjet printers and ink cartridges. Inkjet printer prices appear in some senses to be affordable, even declining over the years as the number of features and functions have increased, much in line with other kinds of consumer electronic equipment. However, some consumers have expressed dissatisfaction, alarm and frustration over the price of inkjet printer…

Avoid Hidden Charges: When Buying, Consumers Need to Consider the Total Cost of Their Purchase

…the games to operate it. The secret to not getting duped by hidden costs is to understand the total costs of operating the product. While this usually works with a little research, the total costs are not always obvious, as we will explain. Inkjet Printers Like the razor/blade pricing, inkjet printers come with hidden costs that can result in hundreds of dollars of losses for consumers each year. Consumers often find that, when buying a personal computer, the printer is cheap, sometimes even free. However, when it comes time to print, consumers soon discover that most inkjet printers are very expensive to operate. The fact is that the average consumer with an inkjet printer spends about $200 per year on ink, a price more than the cost of most new inkjet printers. This razor/blade pricing strategy means lucrative profits for printer manufacturers, but it also means that consumers have pent-up…