HP in hot water again over restricting functionality on its all-in-one-printers
HP is facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States that centers around the accusation that HP is intentionally bricking functionality on all-in-one printer models when ink is running low.
All-in-one printers support a number of tasks besides printing. Functionality includes making copies, scanning and also faxing. Not all of these functions require printer ink; scanning, for example, does not.
HP is accused of limiting functionality on its printers that do not require printer ink to work, if printer ink is low.
Many printer models are priced competitively as traditional printer manufacturers such as HP or Canon earn most of the revenue from the sale of printer ink. Called black gold by many, printer ink is sometimes more expensive than the purchased printer model. Color printers use multiple ink cartridges, often black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Some printers are designed to refuse printing if only one of the ink cartridges is low, even if it is not black and a black-and-white printing is needed.
HP has used several anti-consumer tactics in the past to push sales of its printer ink. From pushing new firmware on to printers that blocks use of third-party ink cartridges, using HP Dynamic Security and other means, to launching the subscription-based service HP+, which, as a feature, blocks using third-party ink for the lifetime of the printer, even when customers unsubscribe later on.
The class action lawsuit accuses HP of bricking certain all-in-one printers when ink is running out. Functionality that does not require ink becomes unavailable at this stage as well, and the lawsuit claims that HP is not informing its customers about that prior to the purchase.
This is not the first time that HP is facing lawsuits regarding anti-consumer practices. Last year, consumer group Euroconsumers reached a settlement with HP over the enforcement of HP's ink cartridge DRM in 2016 in four European countries. APNews reports that HP declined to comment on the issue.
Classic printers are cheap, but they are subsidized by printer ink. Consumer Reports suggests that users may spend $70 per year on printer ink, but it can be a lot more, depending on how the printer is used.
A new class of printer models uses tanks instead of cartridges. These printers cost considerably more, but they reduce the costs of ink significantly. Over time, they help save money.
Another option that people have is to buy laser printers instead (I recommend Brother laser printers). These are more expensive as well, but they don't require ink or have ink-related issues, such as ink drying up if printing is infrequent.Advertisement