HP+ is another reason not to buy HP printers

Martin Brinkmann
May 26, 2023

Is printer ink really more expensive than gold? Original printer ink is without a shadow of a doubt very expensive, and companies like HP or Epson earn a lot of money from selling printer ink to customers. Printers, on the other hand, are often not very expensive.

Third-party ink is often bought and used, as it is not nearly as expensive, and works exactly as original ink.

Printer manufacturers have used various means to get customers to buy their ink, for instance by releasing firmware updates for their printers that lock out third-party ink cartridges.

HP+ Smart Printing System, or just HP+, is Hewlett Packard's latest scheme to get customers to buy their ink. It is a subscription-based system, which the company launched in 2020.

A new complaint by the International Imaging Technology Council against HP claims that HP is using its Dynamic Security and HP+ features in violation of rules that prohibit EPEAT registered devices from preventing the "use of remanufacturered cartridges". EPEAT is an ecolabel that is managed by the Global Electronics Council.

To get the label, "products must meet certain required and optional EPEAT criteria to be considered "EPEAT-registered".

HP+, as reported by The Verge, is preventing the use of third-party ink cartridges in HP printers for the lifetime of the printer. Customers who subscribe to HP+ fall into a trap that they seemingly can't escape from.

HP does everything in its might to make the HP+ subscription deal as enticing as possible. Customers get extended warranty on their printers and 6 months of free ink, provided that they subscribe to HP+ in the first seven days of using the printer.

What customers may fail to read is a tiny footprint stating: "Requires Internet connection, HP account, and use of Original HP ink for the life of the printer".

No third-party ink provider has managed to break the new blocking of third-party ink cartridges in HP+ enabled printers. Neither independent ink cartridges nor refilled HP original cartridges work at the moment on HP+ printers.

While it is possible to cancel the HP+ subscription, doing so does not restore the ability to use third-party ink in the printer. In the complaint, the International Imaging Technology Council claims that customers have only one option to start using third-party ink again, and that is to buy a new printer.

Computer users who plan to buy a new printer might want to look at the products of other companies. Brother manufactures great printers and may be the right choice for many customers. Switching from ink to laser may also be a good option.

HP+ is another reason not to buy HP printers
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HP+ is another reason not to buy HP printers
Did you know that a subscription to HP+ will effectively limit the use of printer ink to HP original ink?
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  1. T Banever MD said on May 27, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    I agree. I feel totally a hostage to the HP instant Inc.. They sent much too much. You can’t return it. If you stop deliveries. They turn off your printer so it won’t even accept the instant cartridges that have built up nor regular HP cartridges. The only solution not to scrap my printer which was on a network was to reenlist in the instant Inc. program then they jacked up the price and sending me more than I need. It really is anti-consumer. There should be a class action suit against HP. I wish I was an attorney. I’m just a lowly physician.

  2. Anonymous said on May 27, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    I would like to buy a low price monochrome Brother laser printer (home use). But I am very afraid of the dust risk and unhealthy vapour associated with laser printers.
    Anyone any thoughts about this?

    1. John G. said on May 28, 2023 at 12:21 am

      The radon radioactive gas is more harmful than any kind of vapor generated by laser printers, and it’s mostly present everywhere. However only some kind of terrains are really problematic in this sense, you can see your country map for radon if available. For example here at Spain there is some issues with this gas in the north side of the country, and this includes also mostly entire Portugal and south of France. The radon gas is produced in a natural way in the ground from uranium and then it diffuses into the atmosphere with no kind of human control over it. The solution for laser printers and radon is to ventilate very well the house opening the windows making some kind of air stream to extract the air, or opening the chimney draft, ceiling extractor fans and so forth (this is highly recommended in rooms/bathrooms with no windows).

  3. Andy Prough said on May 27, 2023 at 3:40 am

    A nice thing about Brother laser printers is that if you ever switch to using GNU/Linux, Brother is good about providing drivers, and the open source drivers work well.

  4. Rusty said on May 27, 2023 at 3:30 am

    Another happy Brother laser user here. I wouldn’t buy any printer that forces me to only use their ink.

  5. John said on May 27, 2023 at 1:23 am

    HP has a habit of hurting themselves. We bought a laser jet HP years ago, lucky for us we never got any firmware that forces us to buy HP toner cartridges. We have always bought non-HP toner and never had one issue. Actually, I would be happy to buy HP toner cartridges if they were priced competitively.

  6. Thaddäus said on May 27, 2023 at 12:11 am

    So done with HP printers.

    First it was the hardware installed to detect if you had genuine hp ink. It was fairly easy to bypass.

    Then it was the nagging and warnings that the printer was not using hp authorized ink (3 to 5 times more in price) than what you could get by either buying refilled hp cartridges from third party vendors or outright knockoff brands that worked just fine.

    Later came the ink subscriptions that had drm that would either prevent the ink from actually working or disable printer functionality beyond that if you cancelled the subscription.

    Next came the inability to actually find drivers on their website for either older models but even newer ones that didn’t involve downloading an app to your phone or pc, registering with HP and then having the app take care of installation without offering opt-outs of things like sending telemetry data or adding large and unhelpful programs like HP Picture editing or useless clip-art programs that 1 in 10,000 users may actually want. Just pure bloat.

    Now, with the newer ink tank models, it will be harder to prevent you from filling with generic ink but the ordeal to simply setup a printer easily seems to have gone by the wayside in the name of making it “easier” to setup a printer. You turn on the printer, connect to the wifi and are then required to enter a six digit code that it prints out to continue with setup. Easy enough but the drivers did all this for you prior to these unnecessary enhancements.

    I don’t want a relationship with HP or any other company. I want to buy a printer, take it out of the box, set it up with a driver either on CD, stored in memory or downloadable, put in whatever ink I want providing its compatible and have it print! Thats it! If I wish to register, I will. Otherwise, leave me alone.

    Have moved on to recommending Epsons and Brothers for clients currently but Epson seems to be leaning toward a more HP approach in the setup department. We shall see.

  7. Scroogled said on May 26, 2023 at 10:39 pm

    I no longer support subscription-based services. I always find alternatives. I’m glad I made the transition to Brother six years ago. My toner and drum have never needed to be changed as of today.

  8. John G. said on May 26, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    Above at my comment > “However I think the problem is the ink”, it’s about HP printers.

  9. Herman Cost said on May 26, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    I switched from inkjets to laser printers and am as pleased as I can be with the results from both a reliability and economy standpoint. i now own two Brother all-in-one laser printers and very much concur with Martin that they make excellent products. My only caveat would be that novice users might find the use of the Brother utilities and their software download website and process to be a bit difficult, but typical readers of this blog should have little if any problem.

    1. John G. said on May 26, 2023 at 8:14 pm

      +1, I agree, we are using here at my parent’s home two Brother laser printers, installed with plain Windows’s drivers and they work as the fantastic printers they are. However I think the problem is the ink system itself, it’s made to waste ink, to pay more and more and more. For example each time we changed the empty cartridges, the printer printed one calibration page or how whatever it be said in english, and more often than be expected twice calibration pages which in my opinion it’s a big waste of ink. I think with no aim to offend HP engineers that the whole waste is quite equivalent to at least one entire cartridge per year. I had never got a HP laser printer, however I know some people who have HP laser printers and they don’t have too much complaints of them.

    2. dmacleo said on May 26, 2023 at 6:25 pm

      got a Brother MFC-L8850CDW Printer thats about 7 yrs old now, may have to put a roller kit in it soon.
      got about 18K pages on it, works great and use aftermarket toner.

      1. dmacleo said on May 26, 2023 at 6:33 pm

        oh yeah forgot to mention it works great on linux mint w/ no setup issues also

  10. Insatsuki said on May 26, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve used almost all major printers such as HP, Canon, Brother, Epson and Ricoh, over 30 years, my conclusion is the original cartridges are the best if you want the best printing quality.
    Yes, I tried some re-manufactured cartridges years ago, but never experienced good printing outputs.
    Nothing wrong about the razor blades business model, if you disagree then just don’t buy their products.

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