HP, an American multinational information technology company, has listed Africa among regions affected by an unprecedented rise in the spread of fake printing products in 2018.
HP’s research found that businesses are at more risk of being sold counterfeit print supplies than ever before. The HP-commissioned study was conducted by Harris Interactive. It found that the trend is already costing the global economy $3 billion per year.
The tech firm has noted relative success in countering the trend in Kenya and Uganda, where a series of raids have been carried out.
According to the Imaging Supplies Coalition, the growing risk of fakes is driven by an increasingly broad supplier ecosystem, lack of certainty by buyers that their purchases are genuine, and a lack of awareness of the risks of purchasing counterfeit goods.
“Every one of the key market indicators we monitor show a significant increase in the risk of counterfeit print supplies,” said Glenn Jones, Director of the Global Anti-Counterfeit Programme at HP.
“For companies like HP, counterfeits undermine decades of focused research and testing aimed at creating superior ink and toner, and reliable, high-quality cartridges for our customers. For users, fakes cause a significant increase in print failures, low page yield, poor print quality, leaks and clogs, in addition to voiding hardware warranties,” Jones explained.
According to Harris Interactive surveys, the past four years have shown a 30% plus drop in companies working with a trusted, primary supplier, and a 27% increase in companies buying purely on availability.
With a broader, less trusted supplier network, SMEs are losing the ability to discern the authenticity of their cartridges with absolute confidence. All regions heavily affected by counterfeiting, in particular the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, with almost three quarters of businesses surveyed feeling confident their purchases were genuine.
While the market trends are concerning, HP and other Print OEMs are continuing their significant efforts to battle this issue by actively engaging with local authorities. Across EMEA over the last five years, approximately 12 million counterfeits and components have been seized by local authorities, supported by HP. HP has conducted over 4,500 inspections of reseller stock and suspicious deliveries for customers.
Through HP’s Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) Programme, the company also actively educates its customers and partners to be vigilant against fake printing supplies.
Recent successes across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region) underscore the impact of these efforts.
Authorities in the UAE disrupted the criminal operations of an internationally active syndicate that had assembled counterfeits of HP and Samsung-branded cartridges, resulting in the seizure of around 46,000 illicit items.
In a major series of raids, Russian authorities dismantled a criminal syndicate that had been wholesaling counterfeit HP-branded cartridges. Officials seized over 215,000 illicit items while raiding residential and warehouse sites in the Volga region and the Moscow area
Officials in the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recently disrupted a criminal ring that had manufactured fake cartridges for HP printers and sold the fakes in bulk, seizing 44,000 illicit items such as fake toner cartridges and components for assembling fakes
As part of the initiative, authorities in Kenya and Uganda have dismantled numerous wholesalers and resellers of counterfeit cartridges for HP printers, raiding warehouses, outlet stores, and seized fakes from a shipping container in the areas of Kampala, Mombasa, and Nairobi, confiscating 16,000 illicit items.