It could be interesting how the ACCC would approach this. The only example which may be applicable relates to what the ACCC has said in relation to car manufacturers trying to maintain exclusivity by not sharing information about a vehicle to assist in independent’s servicing the same vehicle.
The other is parallel imports where a product is sold in Australia which may or may not to OEM and outside of the formal manufacturer distribution channels. This one is very clear in relation to rights when such a product is purchased…namely, the obligations under the ACL still stand…
I suspect that the ACCC may take a dim view if manufacturer’s start developing firmware which ensures that a consumer can only purchase consumables from the same manufacturer. This removes the opportunity for competition Their statements about performance of non-genuine products may also raise the eye of the ACCC as it may be intentionally incorrect or misleading marketing material in order to maximise their own sales.
There is also a risk that a non-genuine toner or ink may result in the printer failing. This is also covered by the ACL and the toner/ink retailer/manufacturer would be responsible for any damage caused by the use of their inks/toner.
Where does this leave consumers, if a non-genuine ink/toner retailer indicates that a ink/toner is compatible/suitable for a particular printer make and model, then they must stand behind their product if it cases a problem, and they must meet their obligations under the ACL. It is also worth noting that the same applies to the OEM ink/toner manufacturer.
We have bought both OEM and non-genuine toner for our printer even thought the manufacturer warns against using such toners (warning such as may result in the printer failing or increased paper jams etc, poor print quality, may not work due to toner chipping etc). We have found that for our particular printer, there is no difference between the two toners, with exception that the non-genuine is about 1/5 cost of the genuine equivalent. We are also onto our third non-genuine high capacity toner cartridge and have had no issue to date. Maybe we have been lucky.
Notwithstanding this, one of our parents bought a compatible Epson ink cartridge for their MFP from a reputable non-genuine ink/toner retailer (who also sold genuine toners as well). On installing the non-genuine cartridge, it wasn’t recognised by the printer. After a call to the retailer, monies for the purchase was refunded. The retailer at the time indicated, if they are to be believed, that like any product (which includes genuine parts), sometimes the product can fail and they have about the same number of failures between OEM and non-genuine inks/toners.
Maybe it is one that Choice could broach with the ACCC as it not only applies to printers, but any electronic device (think batteries or other consumable parts), cars, appliances etc where the manufacturer tries to maximise their sales and profits by taking actions to prevent entry of non-genuine component suppliers.