HP block third party inks from being used in printers by updating firmware.
Hewlett-Packard has found itself in hot water after taking an extreme measure to tackle ink rivalry, leaving customers feeling a little blue.
In an attempt to keep a tight leash on ink usage, HP rolled out a "firmware" update that effectively gave rival ink brands the cold shoulder.
Through this update, printers received a remote makeover that allowed them to exclusively communicate with approved ink cartridges equipped with fancy microchips.
Claiming it was all for the greater good, HP argued that the move would safeguard against malware attacks. They stated that third-party cartridges with non-HP chips could compromise hardware performance, print quality, and overall security.
But customers were far from amused. One disgruntled individual vented online, saying, "I couldn't figure out why my printer refused to cooperate. Turns out, HP has concocted ink cartridges that go on strike unless you're shelling out for their monthly subscription. It's absolute madness! My printer is blocking ink that's already in the cartridge!"
In an eerily reminiscent tone, another person remarked, "So, now they're pushing firmware updates that can hold your device hostage if you dare to use alternative cartridges? Sounds like a case of ransomware to me."
A third user added their frustration, narrating their experience, "I was in the midst of printing a crucial set of documents when I had to replace the cartridge. Little did I know, HP had sneaked into my home overnight and electronically disabled my printer, holding it hostage until I used their ink. I refused then, and I still refuse now."
One particularly irate woman declared that she used to be a fan of HP printers but would now steer clear of them due to their shady ink tactics. She labelled it a "Big Brother" move she couldn't support.
HP's ink-blocking adventures are no stranger to controversy. Last year, they had to cough up $1.35 million (£1 million) to consumers in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal who unwittingly purchased printers with built-in cartridge-blocking features.
Consumer group Which? didn't hold back, accusing manufacturers of actively hindering customers from exercising their right to opt for affordable ink and snagging themselves a better deal.
HP claims that some customers can disable the cartridge-blocking feature in their printer settings, but it all depends on the printer model. Unfortunately, others find themselves stuck with a printer that only plays nice if they're willing to splash out on official HP cartridges. If this has happened to you and you cannot print, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help. To prevent it happening to you in the future, make sure you have automatic firmware updates switched off.
If you don't know how to switch off automatic updates, get in touch with us.
WhatsApp: 620 298 418