Advertising is a curious area of the consumer electronics industry and we journalists often see claims which, being rather more in-the-know than many consumers, strike us as perhaps a little bit exaggerated. With TVs and projectors for example, we disregard claimed contrast ratios for the most part because there is no industry standard for comparison so manufacturers can pretty much say what they like. However, when HP announces to the world that its LaserJet CP3505 printer will "only require replacement toner throughout its life. And nothing else" we would expect it to be a definitive statement.
Alas to say, then, that while yes, the cartridge containing toner is all that has to be replaced, it contains rather more than just ink. According to the packaging, 70 per cent of the printing mechanism is included in the same case as the ink, including print drum's and cleaning components.
It should come as no surprise that rival firm Kyocera reported the advertising campaign to the Advertising Standards Agency in order to have the adverts amended. As a result of that, HP has now come forward and admitted that the adverts were, as base, wrong and is removing the offending phrases from them. Now admittedly Kyocera's motives here aren't purely benevolent, as the company offers it's own toner-only range, with cartridges comprised of only five parts, as opposed to HP's 60.
More worrying though, is that if Kyocera wasn't competing with HP in this area, we can't help but think that no-one would have puled HP up on the issue. Consumers are likely to assume that blue-chip companies can be trusted to supply them with correct information and while HP may not have intended to deceive with its adverts, the fact is the whole fiasco stands as a reminder that we need to take these these sorts of claims with a pinch of salt.