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What are counterfeit cartridges?

Counterfeit cartridges are copy or imitation inks and toners which are produced and sold using the Brother trademark unlawfully. Not only do they violate Brother's trademark and intellectual property rights but they also don't adhere to the stringent health and safety, quality and environmental compliance checks that we have in place at Brother.

Where are counterfeit cartridges sold?

Counterfeits are most commonly sold online. Often, these sites will appear in internet searches for printer ink and toner, advertising cheap or discounted Brother products and may even use the Brother brand name in the web address.

Counterfeit cartridges may also appear on popular auction and classified listing sites, too.

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The Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC) estimates that counterfeit products cost the industry over $3 billion globally each year.

Source: isc-inc.org 

The dangers of using counterfeit inks and toners

  • Unreliable - They may be unreliable as they don't adhere to the same high standards or undergo the same rigorous testing as Brother Original cartridges.
  • Unsafe -  Counterfeits have greater potential to break and leak, potentially damaging your printer and releasing harmful particles into the atmosphere.
  • Poor quality - The output is poorer from cartridges that haven't been expertly designed and tested by Brother to produce the highest quality print.
  • Illegal - By purchasing counterfeits, you are supporting illegal organised crime.
  • More likely to end up in landfill - they generally print less and are not as durable, meaning they may end up in landfill prematurely.

When quality and reliability matter

How does Brother protect its customers from counterfeit cartridges?

At Brother, we take counterfeiting very seriously. To protect our brand and our customers, we work closely with our partners, including Amazon, and are committed to detecting counterfeits both on and offline. The figures below show the action we have taken against counterfeit suppliers to protect our customers.

Source: Corsearch Brand Protection Report for Europe, September 2018 - July 2023.

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Listings reported

We have reported 296,135 online product listings across 8,621 sellers, 38 marketplaces and 23 territories for trademark/copyright infringement or misleading information such as not stating compatibility.

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Listings removed or corrected

We have resolved 223,639 product listings by taking them offline or correcting the misleading information displayed on them.

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Websites reported

We have reported 375 websites for fraud, scamming, phishing or infringing content. 117 websites complied with some taken offline while others had infringing content removed. 

How to check your cartridges are original

It's really easy to check if your cartridges are Brother Originals.

Simply look for the Brother hologram that is featured on every Brother Original cartridge and ensure that it displays different numbers when it is rotated from side to side and up and down.

If you are in any doubt that your product is not a Brother Original, you can check its authenticity by visiting our authentication webpage and typing in the unique ID number on your cartridge, which is found above the hologram.

Check your cartridges are original

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More ways to spot counterfeits

Counterfeit cartridges can often look like original Brother products through detailed replication of the packaging, but there are ways to spot fakes. 

As well as checking the hologram, ensure the packaging has a security label and has not been tampered with. Look out for spelling errors or poor quality cartons that do not match the Brother logo and colours, and be wary of large discounts from very high to low prices. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. 

Always buy Originals - The best way to ensure you're getting the Brother products you need is to buy from one of our authorised Brother stockists, or direct from us.

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Recycling with Brother

For every Brother Original cartridge you buy, we offer a free recycling scheme.

Simply send your used cartridges back to us, free of charge and we'll ensure that we recycle or remanufacture them into new cartridges, ensuring nothing goes to landfill.

A Brother promise that is not guaranteed when you buy counterfeit cartridges.


Recycle for free

Simple ways to manage your Brother ink and toner supplies

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