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Printer supply discounts for employees and retirees

Advice and reference info from members.  (Updated April 3, 2018.)  Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

Members report that the Employee/Retiree discounts for HP printer supplies are usually not a good deal anymore.

Be sure to check prices for genuine supplies from major online sources and office supply chains. One member reported these prices for the same genuine HP toner product: Employee $128; Staples online $126 matched in Staples store; Amazon Prime $116. (Many retailers now have lower prices for online orders than the prices posted on local store shelves. Before buying any product at a retail store, such as Staples or Office Depot, go to their website and print out the page with the online price. Show the online price when you check out at the local store. They will match their own company's online price. These days, Impulse shoppers pay more than people who plan ahead.)

There are several reasons why a reseller may have a lower price:

- Advertised to draw customer traffic. At a call center or store, the salespeople are heavily incented to add high-margin products to your order. A website will be designed to do the same -- for example, Amazon's "Customers who bought this item also bought."

- Watch out for obscure online sellers who have a high complaint rate or have been in business for a short time. Some sell supplies that don't work well or have short life -- with perfect counterfeit packages and security labels. Some sell refilled or cloned supplies with clever wording implying that they are genuine -- or no indication at all. Cartridges with liquid ink have expiration dates and may be unreliable if too old. As with any high-value product, there is stolen merchandise available.

- Online resellers often don't collect sales tax. HPShopping is required to collect and remit the applicable state, county, and city sales tax for your shipping address. In Silicon Valley, that can be as much as 9.75%.

For any company in the printer industry, future supplies revenue depends on selling new printers. Therefore, printer manufacturers compete fiercely on printer selling price -- and part of what you pay for toner or ink subsidizes the low profit margin on the printer. (When speaking to stock analysts, HP Inc refers to printer sales as "placements.") HP Employee/Retiree discounts for PCs and other hardware have never been very good. (Member tips on buying HP hardware.) 

To set up an employee/retiree discount account, call the 800 number given at http://www.hpshopping.com -- the phone agents have access to a database of current employees and those classified as Retirees.

When using an employee discount account on HPShopping, if the list price is not given in small strike-out type, then the price in large red type is actually the list price. The product may have a very low margin, or have been just introduced, or be in very high demand.

Here's HP's discussion of refilled, clone, and counterfeit ink and toner cartridges:
Original HP Cartridges  
How to identify genuine HP cartridges:
4 easy ways to spot the fakes

Details and links:
- If you are classified as a HPI retiree, details are on the official HP Continuum password-protected retiree website.
- If classified as a HPE retiree, details are on the HPE retiree website

See also: Directory of member advice on all discounts (wireless service, HP PCs and printers, printer supplies, non-HP products and services -- and the Retiree Gold Badge.)

For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of Hewlett-Packard, HP Inc, or Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- or have a defined retirement or termination date, join the HPAA. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

 2018 Hewlett-Packard Alumni Association, Inc.  By using this site you accept these terms  Operated by former employees who volunteer their time. Not endorsed or supported by the company.