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HP takes millions of dodgy print products out of circulation

Vendor’s counterfeit operation means that channel partners are spared revenues to illegal consumables and components

HP has taken millions of counterfeit printing products off the market as part of efforts to protect partners and customers from fraudulent products that could deliver low quality and deny the channel revenues.

The firm’s Anti-Counterfeit and Fraud (ACF) team has provided an update on its progress in tackling dodgy products, saying that it has taken 3.5 million fraudulent print products, parts and components including toner cartridges, out of circulation across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific (APAC) and the Americas.

The crackdown on fraudulent products is not just to protect revenues, but to provide the best experience for users, as counterfeit products often lack in quality and reliability. The firm also operates on rules that state that a printer broken due to the use of illegal components is not covered by the limited warranty.

In terms of what the efforts to take unwanted products out of the market looked like, 646,000 counterfeit print products were seized in EMEA between November 2020 and October last year. The figure across APAC was 2.5 million, and 400,000 across the Americas. HP has managed to carry out a few raids that netted tens of thousands of products at a time, removing substantial numbers of illegal products from the market.

HP is also tackling the problem online, and revealed that delisting where illegal products are taken down from the web had increased by 19% year over year (YoY).

“Counterfeiters are increasingly turning to the online space to sell their fraudulent wares,” said Guillaume Gerardin, global head and general manager of print supplies at HP.

“As a result, it’s becoming more difficult for customers to identify counterfeit cartridges at the point of purchase. This is why it’s so important that HP continues to work with online marketplaces to help spot and remove listings for counterfeit products, as well as track down the source of these goods.” 

Because of lockdowns and the general shift by workers to operate from home, the fraudsters had exploited the pandemic to get their products into the hands of more unsuspecting users. HP has stepped up efforts to catch dodgy products before they get through, with virtual Customer Delivery Inspections (CDIs), which managed to identify and delist 224,000 dodgy products.

The firm also runs channel partner protection audits (CPPAs), and resellers have seen the result of that determination to prevent counterfeit goods, with 1,191 CPPAs conducted in FY21, which was an increase of 11% on FY20.

“When vendors, partners, distributors and local law enforcement work closely together, we can reduce the instances of fake print products coming to market,” said Glenn Jones, global head of HP’s anti-counterfeiting programme.

“As pandemic restrictions are lifted and employees resume going into office, IT decision-makers must remain vigilant and wary of cheap office products flooding the market that could be counterfeits. The Combating Counterfeit Products Act and Customer Delivery Inspections can help to identify and ensure fakes cartridges and components never reach the end user,” he added.

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