How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Toner

Most recent by James Cai

In a world where anything and everything can be found online at a discount, it’s not surprising that people have figured out how to sell fake versions of that anything and everything.

The world of counterfeit goods has grown into a massive operation, bigger than some countries’ entire economies, making life very hard for real companies making authentic products.

This is all very alarming, but it’s not the end of the world by any means. 

Luckily, there are still some pretty surefire ways of buying the real deal, whether it’s a designer handbag or a pair of nice sunglasses, and buying toner is no different.

Authorized Retailers


You’ve seen the websites and have probably been tempted to buy something from them. 

Unfortunately, is not a great place to buy toner.  In fact, it’s probably not even a good idea to click around on one of these sites for too long unless you like malware.

It’s incredible easy for anyone to pop up a website, steal some pictures from a legitimate printer supply shop, and start selling knockoff toner from an unknown factory.  The good news is that it’s not too difficult to tell if the site you’re looking at is an authorized retailer or not.


 The first and best way to make sure you’re heading to the right place is to start at the source: the manufacturer’s website. 

If they don’t sell the toner themselves, they will almost certainly be able to link you to a place that will.  This is the absolute guaranteed way to ensure that you’re getting a legit site. 

The pricing may seem a bit steep in some cases when buying direct from the manufacturer, but that price buys you peace of mind.  It also buys you a quality and verified product that came from a factory with product control, and could get you a warranty or guarantee as well. 


 The next best way will be to start with an authorized retailer or a vendor that is able to verify and guarantee the authenticity of their toner and provides a return policy to back that guarantee up. 

These businesses are either certified directly by the manufacturer of the toner or offer a thorough process of verifying the quality and authenticity of the toner they are selling.  

In other cases, the retailer will buy back and independently verify the authenticity and quality of the toner that they then resell.  This may allow them to offer a warranty or money guarantee. 

Outside of buying direct, these are the best places to make sure you’re getting real toner.  Many times, the manufacturer will
offer a link to these sites, especially if there is a physical store location selling the toner in an area nearby.





Buying Tips

There’s a really good chance that something sounding too good to be true actually IS too good to be true.

If you’re getting ready to click “buy” and the deal seems unbelievable, take a minute to check around the website to make sure you’re in a legitimate place.  The toner may be open-box or return, which is fine as long as the product is still sealed and is

Reading the fine print to verify that the deal really is a deal will save some headaches down the road.

If you have any doubts, but still think you can get a good product, you may want to pay with a credit card that has a purchase guarantee to help you get your money back if the toner ends up not being what you expected.  The bottom line is that you will get what you pay for, and in most cases the quality and authenticity guaranteed by purchasing direct is worth any premium you might pay.



Open The Box



If you’ve already purchased toner and are wondering if you
got burned, do not put the toner in your printer to test it out.
  There are a few things to do first to ensure
the authenticity and freshness of the toner before use:

1. The box – Most toner manufacturers clearly label the outside packaging with their branding and the model number of the toner itself. You will also find information on the types of printers that the toner will work with. In many cases, there will be a stamp or seal on the box with some sort of hologram or foil image that shows the brand of the toner and some other imaging of authenticity.

2. Expiration date – Toner won’t necessarily spoil like cheese, but the quality can degrade over time. For this reason, manufacturers put a “best by” date on the box/packaging to let you know how long you have to use the product. 

3. Foil wrapping and sealed packaging – First, the inside of the box should be clean and completely free of dirt and debris, and everything packed tightly without a bunch of loose packaging bumping around. The foil wrap and/or sealed bag that contains the toner cartridge should also be clean and not torn or damaged in any way.

4. Toner – The actual cartridge should not have cracks or be leaking toner powder. Loose parts or damage to the cartridge could be an indication of repackaged toner.


It’s extremely tempting to purchase discount toner from a place that seems to have the best deals around.

Toner, in general, can be expensive to replace and it’s understandable to try saving some money by searching for a deal.  Plenty of people know that, and as mentioned before, have made great businesses out of fooling others into buying fake or repackaged toner.  

A little bit of common sense and a lot of caution will go a long way to helping you make sure you’re getting only authentic toner.  If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, but spending the time to verify the source and seller can tell you what you’re getting into.



Now that you know how to spot counterfeit toner, how about you let us give you a quote for your unused OEM toner? 

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