HP has recently faced backlash for disabling the printers of its customers who used ink cartridges from rival companies. The well-known computer brand issued a “firmware” update that prevents the use of cheaper, non-HP ink cartridges. The update remotely disabled customers’ devices, allowing only approved HP ink cartridges to be used.
The update blocks the use of any cartridges that do not have an HP chip, which are usually more expensive. If a non-HP ink cartridge is inserted, the printer will not print, whereas it used to display a warning message.
HP claims that the update was to prevent malware attacks since third-party cartridges using non-HP chips or circuitry could pose risks to the hardware performance, print quality, and security. The company also stated that it aims to maintain the integrity of its printing systems and protect its intellectual property by blocking the use of rival cartridges.
However, outraged customers have expressed their dissatisfaction on social media, feeling “cheated” by the update. HP ink cartridges can cost more than double the price of third-party offerings. The company has had to pay millions in compensation to customers worldwide since it first introduced dynamic security measures back in 2016, which angered its customers by blocking the use of other ink cartridges.
Consumer groups have criticized HP’s branded ink costs and dynamic security measures for blocking customers from choosing the cheapest ink and getting a better deal. The Competition and Markets Authority was urged to investigate last year after consumer advocates found that lesser-known brands of ink cartridges offered better value for money than major names.
According to HP’s website, all standard printers will block cartridges using a non-HP chip or circuitry. Some third-party cartridges reuse the HP chip or electronic circuitry and those that do will function as normal. HP’s cartridge-blocking feature can be disabled in some printer models, but others will require the use of only HP-approved ink cartridges.
In conclusion, while HP claims the update is to improve the quality and security of its printers, customers are unhappy with the limited options and higher costs of HP ink cartridges.