back to article HP Ink to compensate punters for bricking third-party ink cartridges

HP Inc’s Australian tentacle* will compensate Australian printer buyers for not disclosing that its products would not accept third-party ink supplies. In a piece of language of which George Orwell would be proud, HP Inc called its competition-crimping code the “Dynamic Security Feature”. The company didn’t disclose that the …

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  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

    "Your cartridge is only half full."

    I've bought actual HP cartridges their machines still don't recognize as a) New b) From HP

    I suspect HP cartridge mfg quality control is s**t.

    Won't be making that mistake again.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

      Lexmark had some patents on that and they started it originally.

      So you are indeed correct.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        The Lexmark idiots try to use the DMCA against third party cartridges, until it was pointed out to them that copying their encrypted code without decrypting it meant there was nothing violating the DMCA (because DMCA punishes decrypting of code), all the decrypting was done by Lexmark's printer on behalf of the user, and there was no copyright infringement because the Lexmark printer wouldn't work if Lexmark's code wasn't there, so the cartridge maker couldn't write their own code.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

      "I've bought actual HP cartridges"

      I am a subscriber to the Instant Ink programme. A fiver a month for 100 pages, plus I can roll over up to 100 pages (it accumulates, which is nice).

      I think I've printed maybe 150 pages (and since I don't have to worry about ink consumption, a fair few photos) since I installed the cartridge, and it is still reading over three quarters full.

      Compare this with a standard cartridge pair that will set you back around €26 and maybe manage 100 pages of you're lucky, rather less if printing photos.

      The obvious question, from the point of view of "the consumer experience" is why don't they sell these bigger tanks in the first place?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        > The obvious question, from the point of view of "the consumer experience" is why don't they sell these bigger tanks in the first place?

        Indeed. They appear to have gotten smaller since I got my EPSON R800 around 10 years ago - that takes 13ml cartridges (550 page rating, £15), and manages around 80 A4 photos before needing replacing. These days, it seems "standard capacity" is around 4-6ml (250 page rating, £10) and "high capacity" is around 10-14ml (500 page rating, £15).

        In comparison, I've also got a Brother MFC-L2730 laser, and that seems to have "infinite toner" - I've printed around 400 A4 pages of text (one-and-a-half 250 page trays), and I'm only 20% of the way through the starter toner cartridge. The replacement 3000 page long-life cartridge is a relatively reasonable £55 too ...

        1. adam payne Silver badge

          Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

          I remember the days of the HP Deskjet 500 series with their 50ml cartridges.

          Some things have changed over the years but one thing has remained the same is printer manufacturers shafting their customers.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

            Some things have changed over the years but one thing has remained the same is printer manufacturers shafting their customers.

            Well... yeah. Many printers are allegedly (not just HP) being sold at about "build cost" level because the profit isn't the machine but the cartridges.

        2. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

          After being asked to support our users home printers a number of years ago (as occasionally used for work purposes), I simply told pointed out a few select facts to the people concerned.

          1) An injet cartridge for 150 sheets can cost as much as a second hand (B&W) network printer of the same sort as we already have a few dozen of in the office.

          2) We get a bulk buy price on our toner cartidges of about £20, for a cartridge that does ~15,000+ sheets and we'd happily sell users the cartridges for £20 if they ever used the one that came in the machine. We've had one taker so far, who bought a spare cartridge which he'll probably never use.

          3) Given that at 150 sheets per month it'll take them about a decade to go through a full cartridge, and well over a century before needing a minor service, i'd happily do any maintenance that might be required.

          Surprisingly, every single user said "oh, I don't use colour", probably because people deploy a combination of printing digital photos at asda or doing the odd sheet on our office photocopiers. (which given the 0.16p per page toner cost, i'm sure we can live with)

          Unless reminded, I do tend to forget that those printers exist as I never hear anything about them.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

            You are right about the price of a cheap new printer vs. cartridges. So when my laser printer's cartridges ran out, it did the calculation and bought a new printer. Sent an email to everyone in the office that there was a perfectly fine printer with empty cartridges up for grabs.

            One department called me about 10 seconds later. Their printer was broken. There was zero budget for a replacement printer. There was unlimited budget for office supplies like printer cartridges. So they didn't care that the cartridges were more expensive than a new printer.

        3. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

          Well Brother has the problem of some of their printers using proprietary languages. Which essentially means that after a couple of years they will become harder and harder to use.

          However most monochrome laser printers have near infinite toner capacity, particularly old ones. So if you are looking for a monochrome laser printer, devices like the HP-LaserJet 4 series are kinda your best bet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

            However most monochrome laser printers have near infinite toner capacity, particularly old ones. So if you are looking for a monochrome laser printer, devices like the HP-LaserJet 4 series are kinda your best bet.

            There was me thinking I'm quite the hipster with my HP Laserjet 4200dn with two toners and a spare fuser!

      2. Paul Westerman

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        I use Instant Ink too, I print even less than you so I only pay £1.99 a month, kid's homework etc. taken care of and if we get through 2 carts a year we're quids in. No more running out of ink at annoying moments. They even give you an postage-paid envelope to recycle the old ones.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

      More expensive than fine champagne. Tastes awful though.

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        They are not, Brady are worse with their wire marker and label systems. Of course you cannot use 3rd party rolls in Brady printers but that is just the start. The rolls are chipped and a roll of 100 labels can only be advanced 100 places. That doesn't sound a problem until you consider that you cannot tear off the last label printed, you have to advance the roll to get at your label. If you then manually rewind the roll to print on the skipped label the printer will refuse to use the roll before it is empty.

        Effectively if you are printing one at a time the cost of your labels is doubled and they are eye wateringly expensive to begin with.

        Motherf***ers indeed.

      2. dnicholas Bronze badge

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        Just like Champagne then! Give me a nice Belgian beer any day

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

          epson r2400 here. ive reset the pad counter maybe a dozen times (pad bypass to printer potty) and the head is still firing. it has used resettable cartridges (filled from ink bottles) since i bought it maybe 12 years ago.

          ill never buy a hp as they are a pain in the arse for bulk ink ir resetting.

      3. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

        > More expensive than fine champagne. Tastes awful though.

        You don't like champagne?

    4. Rustbucket

      Re: Motherf***ers. I strongly doubt this is the only HP that has done this.

      HP used to (still?) geoblock their cartridges. Legitimate HP carts bought in south Asia would refuse to work in Australian purchased printers.

  2. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    Why Australia

    Hoi, EU, get your head around this, please, YES! we want similar action, HOWEVER,

    1. HP have to refund any third party cartridges purchased that were detected as "damaged" by the printer 2. Pay us €70 a pop for the inconvenience caused.

    3. HP printers are to accept any third party cartridges in the EU

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Why Australia

      One downvote ? We seem to have one HP schill, Matt Bryant, is that you ? If so, good to see you're back!

  3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Canon run a different con

    My Canon Pixma MG7500 drinks half of any third party cartridge I put in, before it even acknowledges its presence. It also takes it upon itself to do a Deep Clean once a month, which drinks the remaining half.

    The only reason I still have it is because the procurement geniuses at my company said if you buy the printer, we’ll buy the ink. So every month I get a new cartridge set with which I print on average about 10 pages.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Canon run a different con

      MG7500s do exactly the same with genuine cartridges too.

      Genuinely think more ink gets used in cleaning cycles than for printing. Send a document to it and it'll often chunter and grind away for a couple of minutes of ink consuming head cleaning before it even starts on the document.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Canon run a different con

        use bulk ink tanks or cartridges. its so cheap to buy the raw ink bottles that it doesn't matter.

        1. 9Rune5
          Flame

          Re: Canon run a different con

          "use bulk ink tanks or cartridges. its so cheap to buy the raw ink bottles that it doesn't matter."

          I tried some cheap third-party ink in my MG7550 inkquaffer, and photo prints turned out with wildly inaccurate colours.

          In the end I gave up and bought Canon's own ink which must be distilled from liquid gold given the price they charge.

          Oh. Why do I even have this printer you may ask? It was a "gift" from a "friend". I should have thanked her and let it go straight to the bin. Bloody rubbish. Except I would like to print photos... Preferably without the printer ending up weighing ten kilos more than when new (due to all the ink soaking up in its belly).

          In any case: Any luck out there with non-Canon ink in a Canon printer (quality wise)?

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Canon run a different con

            Oh. Why do I even have this printer you may ask? It was a "gift" from a "friend". I should have thanked her and let it go straight to the bin. Bloody rubbish. Except I would like to print photos... Preferably without the printer ending up weighing ten kilos more than when new (due to all the ink soaking up in its belly).

            Unless I'm needing to print some large-format or oddly-sized photo, I just pre-crop the pictures, then upload them to CVS, and have the local store (5 min away) print them. Actually cheaper and quicker (even with the lag time for them to get around to printing them) than doing them on my own printer.

      2. dbtx Bronze badge

        Re: cleaning cycles

        I tore down a Pixma maybe 8 years ago, just looking for interesting bits... From the curiously large absorbent mat that it had spread across the bottom for catching and drying out all that ink, this is quite believable.

  4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Obvious answer..

    Buy Epson.

    Epson sell their printers at rock-bottom prices, because they make all their money from ink. So they also try the same software tricks on.

    However, Epson printers are very common. So there are no end of third party utilities out there to reset the Epson counters, or take over the whole driver process.

    So, biy a new Epson printer, load hacked third-party drivers and use third-party Continuous Ink Supplies. Job done...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Obvious answer..

      The real obvious answer : buy a color laser printer.

      There's none of those shenanigans when using laser, and you can have toner cartridges refilled.

      1. Gavin Chester
        Meh

        Some Laser Printer have these chips too.

        HP also chip some of the Laser Printers range too. The on toner cart chip records toner use. If the chip reports to the printer the toner is cart is empty the printer wont print.

        OEM makers have been making chips and reset chips them for a while, but to just say buy a laser isn't that simple.

        HP say its to prevent damage to the drum when printing with empty toner cart, although they probably meant damage to their consumables profit line...

        And I have no doubt other makers use similar chips, I just know HP does as my laser printer has this "feature"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If the chip reports to the printer the toner is cart is empty the printer wont print."

          It looks not every model does that.Mine reported that the "limited" initial toner are empty (they should last more or less half than a "full" one), but I told the printer to keep on printing anyway, it actually does - and I didn't see any fading yet. I'll replace the toners only when it happens. To be fair, the HP manual explicitly says you can wait for it to replace the cartridges.

          I'm quite sure at this point the "limited" toners are just different info on the chip...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obvious answer..

        > The real obvious answer : buy a color laser printer. There's none of those shenanigans when using laser, and you can have toner cartridges refilled.

        Nope, some manufacturers do the same thing with laser toner cartridges as the inkjet cartridges. :( At least the toner's generally cheaper! :)

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Obvious answer..

        Buy a Brother laser printer, and you can get third party cartridges that are a lot cheaper. And you can buy packs with two black and one of each coloured cartridges, which works really well for most people who use a lot more black ink.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obvious answer..

        Apart from they're crap at printing photos.

      5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Obvious answer..

        The real obvious answer : buy a color laser printer.

        Funny you should mention that. New Egg recently advertised a Canon color laser all-in-one for $249. A quick perusal of the "recommended accessories" upsell showed that standard-capacity carts are $73/ea for color and $63 for black. Even as an arts major, I was able to determine that one set of consumables totaled $282, or $33 more than the printer itself.

        My last Canon monochrome laser used chipped carts. It would grudgingly work with 3rd-party toner, but it complained bitterly the whole time. The constant "low toner" beep-beep-beeping was so annoying that I almost went full Office-Space on it. Ultimately, my wife's cooler head prevailed and we sold it at a garage sale.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious answer..

      Buy Epson.

      Don't. I put a reputable-brand third party ink cartrige into an Epson. The printer pissed the ink all over the mechanism, printer went into the bin.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious answer..

      > Epson sell their printers at rock-bottom prices, because they make all their money from ink ... there are no end of third party utilities out there to reset the Epson counters, or take over the whole driver process.

      Or, just get one of their EcoTank range, which has far more reasonable ink costs, if you're doing lots of printing?

    4. Schultz
      Go

      Re: Obvious answer..

      Buy the 90% discounted ink, or some other 10% of the HP cost ink, or spend a few dollar for ink and refill yourself.

      If you let your printer phone home to HP to protect you from dangerous ink cartridges, well, then you are a hopeless case.

    5. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Obvious answer..

      ...5 thumbs up & 1 thumb down...

      Rob Clark (MD Epson UK) ? Is that you?

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Anything to make a buck -- HP.

  6. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Customer experience

    Companies only ever want to protect customer experience when it's the experience of paying them too much. In the case of ink that experience is protected quite easily by the customer. If you don't like the third party ink you can go back to using the originals.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Customer experience

      If you don't like the third party ink you can go back to using the originals.

      Or, you know just get a freaking Lazer Printer, with a Wire Shark... (Or something....)

      the frustration, the problems caused by not being able to print something important.

      Again get a Lazer Printer...

      I mean how many times do you actually find yourself needing to actually print a pretty picture, as to all the other times a simple B&W Document would have just surficed. But, yeah the Cyan got all chewed up. So please buy our new Cartridge now 'k?!

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Customer experience

        It may suit you, but I would not buy a printer today that can't print colour, no matter exactly how often I actually need to do that. And you can still buy several inkjets with CIS and bulk ink for the price of a single colour laser and its toner.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Customer experience

          It may suit you, but I would not buy a printer today that can't print colour, no matter exactly how often I actually need to do that. And you can still buy several inkjets with CIS and bulk ink for the price of a single colour laser and its toner.

          For that timw when you need a color pie chart, then there is also a Colour Lazer Printer for that too. For about the other 99.99999% of all your other prints a B&W Lazer Printer is where its at.

          Are the more expencive? Well perhaps the inital outlay perhaps.. But surly this TCO thingy should be spared a thought. For all the times when I just need a Hard Copy. NOTHING is as nice as cranking on the Lazer, let it heat up, and just get to work. No wasted Pages, no half drunken Cartridges, just to blody get that single flipping Page you wanted to print. The best part of it after nearly 10+ Years I've only ever burnt about One, and a half Cartridges for my Printer.

          I shudder to think how many dried out Ink Carts I would have had to go though in that time. So pray tellme about how expencive Lazer is again?

          OK I begurdge Ink for Photo Printing, but, even here there exists other better alterinitves then Ink. But, hay I don't have a PHB who signs off on my Ink Carts PO's. If so I probably would also take the p!55 with it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Customer experience

            > Are the more expencive? Well perhaps the inital outlay perhaps.. But surly this TCO thingy should be spared a thought

            My colleague has an HP colour laser at home. A full set of toner cartridges costs just shy of £450 (a 3rd party set would be just under £300). It's fine for "business graphics", but like most laser printers, can't print good quality photos. Inkjets may or may not work out having a higher TCO, but the outlay is a lot less "peaky".

            > OK I begurdge Ink for Photo Printing, but, even here there exists other better alterinitves then Ink.

            If you're not super-picky about quality you can use one of the mail-order services to have your photos printed, and it may well work out cheaper (if you're picky about quality and use someone like Loxley, it won't work out cheaper). There is something about having a fully colour-managed local workflow for printing photos though (this pre-supposes printing photos is "your thing").

          2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Customer experience

            @Michael Habel

            Please learn how to spell Stimulated.

            As in 'Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation', Note the complete lack of an 'z' in that.

            Once you understand that, you might be able to spell 'laser' correctly.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer experience

          After exhausting battles with office inkjets - inks that lasted nothing, endless cleaning cycles, while trying to bypass the strange errors they after a while throw ("ink loading subsystem error"??) , as a SOHO printer I got a small color laser printer, with duplex and ethernet/wifi, at about $200. No problems since, and good for most color work.

          The only inkjet I still use is a professional A3+ 12 inks photo printer (that costed four times the laser). Here inks and papers costs are part of the game - and the quest for quality trumps everything else. But this of course is used for quality photos only.

          The latest inkjets with refillable ink tanks look interesting, but tests report those inks are less steadfast, and if you need long-lasting documents they may not be your choice.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Customer experience

            or just start with the CIS or cheap ink and work backwards to a printer.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Customer experience

        Lots of reasons to have colour; students and school kids needing illustrations or charts, businesses producing leaflets and customer information like menus or price lists, clubs producing nice looking newsletters, families wanting to put pictures in frames ( digital photoframes don't seem to have caught on and anyway were really expensive for what they were - and probably not too good for granny), or just because you like a splash of colour or a nice border etc. And so on.

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    ''give them AU$50 apiece''

    that will hardly compensate for the hours of time wasted (even at minimum wage levels), the frustration, the problems caused by not being able to print something important.

    It is also not enough to discourage HP from pulling a similar stunt again.

    Compensation should be a minimum AU$500; or more if the customer can show consequential loss.

    HP is acting as John Deere does with tractors. Both are despicable.

  8. DougS Silver badge

    HP has fixed their ink situation

    Their "Instant Ink" thing really works well if you want an inkjet - unless you are paying less than 4 cents per page in printing costs you will save money with it. Much better than screwing around with refills, third party cartridges, etc.

    Not sure how such a good idea actually made it out of HP, surely someone screwed up and will be fired!

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