With prices of basic printers being around $40 - $50 and a ink cartridge being around $20 - $30 each for black AND color. It costs me more to replace the printer's ink than to just buy a brand new printer. This just seems like a total waste of materials though (I have 4 printers sitting in my basement with no ink).
I know the ink cartridges are smaller (not as full) in a new printer but I go through it in about 1 to 1.5 years only and by then my $40 gets me a better printer to boot. Also with certain printers the heads are not part of the ink (Epson use to do this and still might) so I get new heads as well.
Is this a bad practice? Are retailers making this a reality when they are selling working hardware cheaper than replacement parts? Is there something more I should be considering?
Edit: Some background, long ago I bought an Epson printer which I used to print docs etc vary rarely. The ink started running low so I bought to new carts for around $60 if I recall. The printer then stopped working so I replaced the carts with the new ones but the head was dead on the black which was not worth repairing. I bought a new HP printer for $49. This lasted around 1.5yrs and then the ink ran out, I went to buy new carts and the guy at the store got me to buy a new printer (that was smaller, faster, higher dpi, etc) and it was cheaper than replacing the ink. When the ink ran out on that one I bought a new printer again, etc. The printer gets used maybe once a week at most and I never print photos or anything. It normally is jsut stored away unplugged accumulating dust.
People say to buy a laser printer but they are much larger, do not print color, (in the price range I am looking at) and might have the exact same issues.
The problem I see is the manufacturer is making my behaviour possible by selling new printers at a loss hoping that they will cash in on the ink later. How can they produce a printer for so cheap which HAS ink in it, and the refills cost more than the unit? It can't.