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HP Printers Nobbled To Only Use Expensive Ink Cartridges

PC and printer maker Hewlett-Packard has moved to extract millions from consumers by manipulating their printers to only print using expensive ink cartridges supplied by the US Company.

The strategy was put in place 18 months ago when the Company started installing chipsets in their printers which blocked keep third-party ink cartridges.

Last week the company delivered a firmware update to this chipset, which instantly blocked the third-party ink cartridges.

Prior to the release of the firmware update users were able to use alternate low-cost ink cartridges.

This is the same company that was fined millions in Australia by the Federal Court for trying to charge consumers for repairs to their PCs which should have been covered under warranty.

Now questions are being asked as to why consumers in Australia were not told when buying a low-cost HP printer that it would only run high-priced HP printer cartridges in the future.

The excuse given by HP was that the firmware update was designed to deliver stronger protections around its “innovations and intellectual property”.

The company has also admitted that the models affected are the HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X printers these are models that the company claims “maintains secure communications between the cartridge and the printer,” it says.

“It is completely outrageous that HP have completely sabotaged my HP printer just as I was going to print some very important documents,” wrote user Martin35 on HP’s official support forum.

“The printer is now telling me that my ink cartridges, which have up to now been working perfectly, are now missing or damaged or are older generation cartridges which will not work in my printer. What a load of nonsense.”

There are signs that HP has been deleting posts and replies about the error messages in a possible act of covering up the extent of the customer outrage.

A price analysis by Choice found that HP’s yellow ink 3.5ml cartridge costs $5128 per litre – far more than luxury items such as Chanel No. 5 perfume at $3514 a litre.

ChannelNews is still waiting for answers from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding the legalities around the sale of HP printers in Australia.

A visit to Officeworks and JB Hi Fi reveals that nowhere on HP printer packaging does it say that their printers will only run expensive HP printer cartridges.

“After years of being able to use non-HP ink, consumers have a reasonable expectation that they will be able to continue to choose which ink they will use,” A Choice executive said.

ChannelNews has contacted HP as to whether they syndicated information to retailers ahead of the firmware update.

We have been told that retailers in Australia were advised to stock up on expensive HP printer cartridges ahead of the firmware update.

Last week HP announced that they are set to pay US$1.05 billion for Samsungs printer business, this will also give them access to a portfolio of intellectual property that includes 6,500 printing patents. In addition, the company will get around 1,300 researchers and engineers with advanced expertise in laser printer technology, imaging electronics, as well as printer supplies and accessories. HP claims that the acquisition is expected to bring cost synergies and a “strong” financial model, but right now the company does not share its plans regarding optimizations of its printing business workforce or anything related.c02679709_1750x1285

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