back to article HP customers claim firmware update rendered third-party ink verboten

HP is facing a potential class action complaint regarding a firmware update that rendered its printers unable to use ink from any other supplier. The complaint [PDF] centers around a firmware update issued between late 2022 and early 2023 that is alleged to have disabled a customer's printer if a replacement cartridge that was …

  1. Chris Miller

    users can sometimes find themselves in the situation where supplies cost more than a replacement printer

    True, and not unique to HP. But the cartridges in new printers are generally only half-full.

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Yes, but what would the extra cost be if they were full? Next to nothing, I would bet.

      1. Killfalcon Silver badge

        Ink's where the money is, since the printer companies insist a printer should be purchasable for £50, even though it's a mass of moving parts with astonishingly small tolerances, even after tens of thousands of operations. Everything else in computing has gotten cheaper and easier to make over time, but printers really haven't at all. It's still a hard job to precisely place ink on page at great speed with any degree of reliability.

        If the printer making companies had the sense to fix the prices of printers closer to the manufacturing cost, they wouldn't need to pull these ink related stunts, but they've al tried to under-cut each other (and make it up in ink) for so long the home printer market is just screwed.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Not only that, but if the printer came with full ink cartridges and the price of that printer was about the same as the cost of a set of new ink cartridges people would treat the entire printer as disposable and buy a new one each time it ran out of ink.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Years ago I bought an HP colour laser printer. It came with a proper set of full toner cartridges (CMYK) for significantly less than those cartridges would have cost on their own.

            1. Keven E

              Inka dinka don't

              I wouldn't be surprised (based on recent experience) if the same issue is rearing it's head with laser toner cartridges.

          2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

            People do just that... I know because I've done it. It cost £30 for a cheap basic printer and about £70 for new ink. So I'd give the printer away via freecycle in my area and get a replacement. Then I discovered 3rd party inks and started running into warnings and issues like this one. It's not just HP who pull this shit. Lexmark gave me constant warnings every time I used my printer, Epson do the same.

            I know it's daft... but last year I signed up for the Epson ready print... £1.99 a month, £23.88 a year, 50 pages a month or roll over what's left for the next month. I don't print 600 pages in a year now, and I'm trying to move away from this disposable culture and try to be a little greener... so solar panels and battery storage installed, extra insulation in the house and my next car will be a hybrid. Reducing plastic waste, recycling as much as possible.

            But nothing would ever convince me to touch anything from HP ever again.

            1. Not Yb Bronze badge

              Constant (but ignorable) warnings are one thing, HP just says "cartridge problem" and refuses to use third party cartridges entirely every time their firmware update figures out how to detect the new "faked" chips. Most of the rest just say something equivalent to "Oh, hey, we noticed you're using 3rd party ink, please don't do that."

          3. heyrick Silver badge

            Back around 2010ish, that's exactly what I did as the setup cartridges were properly full in those days. There's a small pile of old printers in the shed. Useful if I need to salvage a button, LED, stepper motor...

            Yes, it was crazy, but then the entire home printer market is nuts.

        2. NATTtrash

          Ink's where the money is...

          Very true. Ink == printer company's subscription model.

          And they are not the only one. In the medical area for example, companies are (almost) giving away high precision equipment, automated injectors for administering drugs/ fluids... up to the point you try to insert a container, which is required to be "generic" by law, but is not from the same manufacturer who "gave" you the thing. Of course there was a lot of blah about safety and all that. But in the end it turned out to be just camouflage for the same HP model (Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat at the window... Who's there?)

        3. pip25

          "Everything else in computing has gotten cheaper and easier to make over time, but printers really haven't at all."

          How mysterious. The printer hardware must be cursed. Or maybe, just maybe, they weren't trying that hard to reduce costs to begin with. If they get their money from the fools, er, I mean, their customers either way, why bother?

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Printing is not as subject to Moore's Law as other computing components. Having worked for a printer manufacturer, the only place the "number of transistors per millimeter" matters is in the control circuitry, which isn't the main driver of cost now. (one reason "Windows printers" didn't take off was that putting more of the control circuit into Windows instead of the printer, didn't save much production money at all)

        4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          I agree that the likely cost of manufacturing printers probably hasn't changed much. How can it? The mechanics of computer printing haven't really changed since the 80s. Sure, the electronics have got cheaper, but how much do they contribute to the cost of the printer? I bet it's a lot less than the mechanical parts that move the paper and printhead.

          I'd like to see printer costs raised a little, and the ink cartridge cost to go down. I don't think it will happen though.

          While I don't know the actual costs, say HP released an Inkjet printer that cose £250 to make. Add in a reasonable profit for them, and costs and profits for any wholesalers/retailers involved in the sale. So the consumer pays £350.

          HP then charges £5 for ink. This likely what it costs, plus a generous profit margin. This, to me, is what they should do.

          Instead, they sell that printer that cost £250 to make for £50, and charge £20 for each cartridge. Fair enough if they charged that £20 for the first (say) 8 cartridges (or enough to pay off the loss they made on the printer) then charged £5, but they don't, so once you've paid off the loss, they are making profits on each cartridges of over 300%.. Cha Ching. It aint going to change unless one (or more) governments step in and make it change.

        5. Tom66

          Kodak did try this model - sell the printers for essentially profitable prices and supplies for cheap.

          They failed. Consumers were stupid and bought cheaper printers, and printers lasted long enough that there wasn't enough profit to make it a sustainable business.

          I suspect the only way we get a sustainable model like this is if EU/FTC/etc insist that 3rd party ink be permitted for use with any printer. Currently there's no requirement, so it's been up to courts to make the odd judgement here or there. Last I heard the EU were investigating this but it's still many years off actually happening.

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Kodak printers had software issues, as in crap software,

            THAT'S why they failed.

            1. J__M__M

              THAT'S why they failed.

              You say that like HP's 220mb print drivers have always been such bug free works of art.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: THAT'S why they failed.

                Indeed. In addition to occasionally having to deal with HP Ink's software, I've had the displeasure of peering inside some of it. Years ago, I had to diagnose a hung installation of an HP printer driver on my daughter's Mac laptop. Turned out to be running a shell script of astonishing incompetence — and because it was a shell script, I could see precisely how incompetent.

                I'll never buy another HP printer myself. When my beloved HP LaserJet 4MP finally dies (it's over 30 years old now), I'll have to do some research to figure out which is the least-awful laser printer manufacturer these days.

                1. Not Yb Bronze badge

                  Re: THAT'S why they failed.

                  I believe the solution for "my HP LaserJet 4MP finally dies" will be "order replacement parts" for many more years. It's a workhorse.

          2. CountCadaver Silver badge

            Epson do this with their ecotank printers

            Printer costs around £350 but can be refilled with bottled ink

            If I still printed the volumes I used to then I'd go this route but we print very little now and email virtually everything or online submission for the more secure stuff

        6. hoola Silver badge

          The consumer also drives this as they want everything as cheap as possible at the point of purchase. The ongoing costs are irrelevant.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Not unique to HP. But HP were always the worst for it in my experience, and IIRC they did it first.

      That and forced crapware with driver installs, and trying to make people install their HP Cloud Print app

    3. Dagg Silver badge

      Yep, brother lasers are exactly the same! Bastards!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My Brother laser has been quite happy with its aftermarket cartridges.

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          And Brother's devices mostly (I only have experience with... four? two printers, an inkjet all-in-one and a laser all-in-one) have linux drivers. Yeah, they need to be downloaded from their website, but the stuff works. And (much to the chagrin my wife) more reliable than under windows (ok, I should look at her machine...).

          For the (currently installed) BW laser all-in-one we have so far only bought original toner, but the stuff is priced ok, not really more expensive than what we saw from competitors. Shopping around a bit helped (we had to buy... dunno... something like a washing machine or a tumble drier or whatever anyway and were at three different places, two general electronics outfits, one specialiesed), so we just picked up two or three cartridges then - and still have to use them up. And since we do not print that much (obviously), and since it is only b/w, this works for me.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            And Brother's devices mostly (I only have experience with... four? two printers, an inkjet all-in-one and a laser all-in-one) have linux drivers. Yeah, they need to be downloaded from their website, but the stuff works.

            Up to a point. The official Brother Linux driver for my HL-1210W doiesn't work properly. ll the letters have an extended bottom, like a "dyslexic" font. Luckily the printer-driver-brlaser Debian package works nicely.

          2. Sudosu Bronze badge

            My Brother laser printer bought for $60 in 2006 is still printing merrily along, though I did buy a toner cartridge at one point for $60-80.

          3. hedgie Bronze badge

            I don't have a printer, personally, but (and I've said it here before) when I had to get one for my mum, the current Epson ink tank all-in-ones use CUPS for printing on Mac and Linux, so no install of anything needed 'cept for the scanner function. Also, 4oz refill bottles for $25 US aren't bad, and that's for the branded stuff.

        2. Dagg Silver badge

          My Brother laser has been quite happy with its aftermarket cartridges.

          Yea, right! Until they leak toner and destroy the photo roller!

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        The Brother HL-1210W sitting next to me as I write this is running perfectly happy on knock-off cartridges.

        1. My-Handle

          Same here (MFC-L3710CW). I would usually buy original cartridges, but funds were a little tight when the colour tonors started running low. 3rd party was a little cheaper and the printer seems perfectly happy with them.

        2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          As is the Brother LH-L3230CDW that is sat next to me. I sense FUD from an HP employee.

          The knock-off cartridges I bought did need a bit of swearing at to get them to work, but they were very cheap and flimsy ones that didn't make good electrical contact with the fuser units. You do get what you pay for. Once installed and working, though: no problem.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't have a brother printer myself, but they do seem to be highly recommended in similar forums like this for not doing such shenanigans.

        I do have a 20 year "vintage" HP LaserJet 4200 (with duplexer!) which seems to keep going!

        1. Giles C Silver badge

          I run a slightly newer 4300 only about 18 years old, bought second hand about 8 years ago and turns out 400 pages a month every month since then (printing a club newsletter)

          Only costs are original toner carts which you can pick up from Amazon for about £100 (a lot of companies but a printer and a lot of carts then the printer breaks and you can pick them up cheap)

          New printers are a different matter

      4. Lazlo Woodbine

        The last place I worked we had a mix of Brother, HP, Kyocera and Espon printers. HP was the only make we had problems with using 3rd party cartridges.

        Brother had by far the cheapest genuine carts, but we still saved about 50% buying compatibles. Epson had the biggest difference in price between genuine and 3rd party carts.

        The first thing we asked when ordering a new printer is "do you have compatible consumables?" and we only bought printers that had compatibles available.

        Unfortunately, we had some department heads who insisted on having HP printers, and I have to admit, their Pagewide inkjets were an amazing piece of kit, but the ink was punishingly expensive.

      5. Tron Silver badge

        Nothing wrong with Brother printers.

        I bought two spare Brother lasers when everything ran short in the pandemic, saving a stash of cash given the decline of Sterling. Haven't started using them yet. Still using the original. Brother's own high capacity toner cartridges aren't so pricey that I'd go for third party. Having replacement machines means that I can swop over cartridges if one goes.

        Sensible response to HP: Don't buy HP.

        American response to HP: Class action.

        1. Dagg Silver badge

          Re: Nothing wrong with Brother printers.

          The issue I had with the brother HL-2150N laser was it was sold with a near empty cartridge and the replacement cost almost has much as the original printer.

          I ended up buying a non brother toner cartridge and that ended up leaking toner and stuffing up the photo roller.

    4. Snapper

      Generally about 20-30% in my experience. It was certainly cheaper to buy a new (cheap) printer back in the day before the penny dropped at printer central.

    5. Shuki26

      How many new cars are picked up with a full tank of gas or full charge for an EV?

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        If you buy a new car for circa £20K, you're not going to be too bothered whether it has £10 or £100 worth of petrol in it.

        If you buy a new inkjet printer for £50, you might be more bothered whether it has £10 or £100 worth of ink in it.

        See the difference?

      2. Stork Silver badge

        I wouldn’t be surprised if EVs were delivered close to fully charged, at least if you ask for it. Price of a charge isn’t going to kill the profit.

        1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

          So spend a bit more money on the printer and get lower cost per page, and get a small business printer. It’ll also be more reliable as it’s not made from milk bottle tops with the brain of an amoeba. The ink on the new ink tank Epsons will likely last a couple years per set of bottles.

      3. Not Yb Bronze badge

        Every new car I have purchased came with a full tank of gas. Your local dealer clearly sucks.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

    So block your printer at your firewall -- who needs internet access to it (other than HP)?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

      Brave of you to assume it'll work without internet access.

      1. Philo T Farnsworth

        Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

        That is a good question -- do these things insist upon being able to "phone home" before they'll work at all?

        I assign such devices to a non-routable segment of my network that neither sees nor can be seen by the outside world but, as another commentor remarked, that's not necessarily something every user has the capability or capcity of doing. And, of course, there are downsides to not being able to upgrade firmware when something goes sideways.

        Ah, HP, what has happened to you? You were once so wonderful.

        Once upon a time you made great test equipment and some pretty nifty computers and calculators (I treasure my poor battered HP-16C "Programmer's Calculator" I bought somewhere around 40 years ago). Now all you do is chase the dollar.

        Sad. Just sad.

        1. simonlb Silver badge

          Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

          Ah, HP, what has happened to you? You were once so wonderful.

          Carly Fiorini happened and set up the merger with Compaq which started the death spiral off, and that was only done so that HP could have a range of Windows servers to sell and some better desktop PC's.

          The crazy thing was that at that time HP had both the engineering talent and capacity to design, build and bring to market their own range of Windows servers within 3 years whilst improving their existing desktop PC offerings, and subsequently do as well if not better than Compaq. From there it just got worse as all the core values which HP was built on were essentially thrown out and the primary focus of all their business units became, "Increasing revenue for stakeholders."

          What's left of HP now is essentially garbage and is a massive insult to the memory of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.

          1. Skiver

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            "Carly Fiorini happened and set up the merger with Compaq which started the death spiral off, and that was only done so that HP could have a range of Windows servers to sell and some better desktop PC's."

            100% on point. I survived the DEC -> Compaq -> HP adventure and worked there during Fiorina's tenure. I didn't survive the layoff that saw me and a few hundred of my colleagues who were working on the same project. A handful of people found jobs elsewhere in the company. The rest of us hit the bricks.

          2. Dimmer Silver badge

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            Hp did have a great 1 u server. Solid as a rock and their sever market share was on the way up. You could put any drive or card in it you wanted.

            Then SHE came along and slapped the HP name on compaq server and stopped production on the true hp servers. We were burned so bad we never bought another server from them.

          3. thondwe

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            HP has a sorry history of buying a company only to mess it up - Compaq, 3PAR, Lefthand come to mind. Not as bad as Broadcom mind!

            TBF we've had a number of HP laptops over the years and they've been fine - so suspect it's like every big corp - some business units run OK, others less so!

        2. Sudosu Bronze badge

          Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

          If that makes you sad, don't look up Packard Bell...

          1. RAMChYLD

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            Packard Bell was purchased by Acer wasn't it?

            But yeah, sad that it came down to that. Then again, the PC market has already evolved. Only corporate would buy prebuilds, most of us prefer buying parts and building our PC like a legos.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

      The average punter isn't going to be able to do that and these days you've got to be a very average punter to but this kit.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

        So, just don't set the connection in the first place.

        *Not* doing something, although at times hard, is attainable by most users :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

          In my household, printing over the network is a necessity. One desktop and two laptops, each of which prints - how else would I do that?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            You should not need internet access to network a printer, but you may have no choice particularly if you are using wireless

            1. eionmac

              Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

              Using OKI printer (8 years old) not connected to internet. Third OKI printer in about 18 years. One worn out. Another was physically damaged in a move.

              Toner change about every 8000 sheets.

      2. swissPGOE

        Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

        Even if the printer itself cannot reach the internet, the Hp printer driver likely is, and could act as a gateway to push firmware updates.

        That would be creepy - but not impossible. To prevent that, use of reputable open source software and filtering your network is your best option.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

          No, the best option is to NEVER buy an HP.

          1. MacroRodent

            Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

            >No, the best option is to NEVER buy an HP.

            Must confess I have kept buying HP printers because they usually have problem-free Linux support (or at least as much as that is possible with printers).

            Not long ago I considered Epson Ecotank line, but browsing forums, it looked like trying to use them with Linux would just worsen my high blood pressure.

            1. Edward Ashford

              Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

              I have had no issues with ET on Ubuntu. Really glad I made the switch. Epson support now seems pretty good.

    3. Securitymoose
      Thumb Up

      Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

      Internet Ink where I get mine specifically states that you should disable software updates when using equivalents to prevent precisely this sort of thing happening. I haven't had any trouble with my Epson printers in any case.

    4. Xalran

      Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

      why bother ?

      And in many cases, people don't have enough control over the triple play box to block a specific outgoing traffic.

      A Home Printer should not be on a network, any network... It should be connected through an USB cable.

      That way it can't stealth update it's firmware while your computer is off.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "If a printer is connected to the internet, the update downloads automatically"

      NHS worker here -

      Was told to set up a HP printer that some white-coated *ology department had bought to connect to some testing machine. I protested that it was one of those internet connected things, so even though it was to be connected via USB, but was told to do it anyway. It worked - for a while at least. Then was moved to an area with dodgy wi-fi and then stopped working during a very busy weekend because it lost connection with the HP mothership


  3. xyz123 Silver badge

    HP business printers don't work if the internet goes down. Thats step 1

    Step 2, you can't then stop them from updating, as firewall blocking = no internet = printer stops working

    Step 3. The printer reports home how often it is used (i.e. how vital it is) and will brick itself with updates, forcing you into an expensive emergency call-out to repair. Or you could wait 3-5 business days for your business-vital printer to be fixed under your already paid warranty option!

    ALSO how come HP printers used by UK government departments ALL send copies of internal documents to various outside IP Addresses? Surely HP wouldn't be stealing potentially confidential information they could use for profit would they?

    Again if you block these IP addresses for outbound traffic, Blam! printer stops working with comms errors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fighting the install

      I had this fight with a client printer last week. 90mins to install because it kept deciding it was not online. Yet the router saw it, the PC could ping it, I could login to the webpage on the printer... but the dumb thing refused to see the internet. Three reinstalls later running loops around with that "HP Smart" mess on Win10 that keeps trying to grab personal data and link up to online services. Trying to sell toner subscriptions which we kept declining has he already had a spare.

      Gawd only knows why it worked the third time.

      In the old days you just added a driver and plugged a cable in.

      I told the client "HP" stands for "Hopeless Products" or "Hire Purchase". And a good advert for other brands.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Fighting the install

        A while ago I bought a cheap HP all-in-one thingy at Tesco because I urgently needed a printer for one week. It was supposed to be wireless, but I discovered that if something went wrong with the wireless setup, that was it. You got precisely one chance to do it, with no factory reset option. Luckily USB worked, so I coped, but it went in the skip at the end of one week. Still, it was only fifteen quid.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Fighting the install

          "You got precisely one chance to do it, with no factory reset option."

          Uh... Try pressing the wireless button and the cancel (X) button together for a few seconds (usually 3, aim for 5 to be sure). That usually resets the network settings on a cheap HP all-in-one, and should have been described in your user guide. Admittedly you might not have seen it given these things are often only available as PDFs these days, but "not knowing" is not the same as "not possible".

  4. JamesTGrant

    Distributed electronically

    Rather than by word of mouth or ‘telepathically’ one assumes

  5. cyberdemon Silver badge

    Made to be Hated

    Quick, run an ad campaign pretending that we are a lovely honest company that everyone loves

    That worked for Amazon, didn't it?

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I really hope my 15 year old Epson carries on for a while longer, as its from a time when printers didn't require an internet connection, and it works with 3rd party inks which i can pick up for less than £3 a cartridge on ebay. And it still prints great quality photos after all these years and I have it plugged into a router running OpenWRT so i can print over the network to it.

    1. Atomic Duetto

      If it doesn’t, just replace it with an Epson Ecotank version. I’ve had one (two actually), sitting in a cupboard, switched on, printing the odd document here or (several) reams of UNI online learnings there (we just had to have a copy apparently). Refilled it with ink once. It can go months without a thought, then just fires up on demand. Hasn’t stopped, jammed, dried out or complained yet. It just works… amazing.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Just don't let it sit on the window sill, over the heating. My boss at uni did that (usually a bright guy, but this time... sheesh!).

  7. Alan Bourke

    As ever with printers

    you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

  8. Oldgroaner

    While deploring HP's vile practises I have only qualified sympathy for recent purchasers of their printers, for many a year it has been clear that they are not to be bought by anyone valuing their pockets or privacy.

  9. johnB

    Automatic "upgrades"?

    Why does a printer need to upgrade it's software? It's not as if the alphabet's been reinvented.

    1. jfw25

      Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

      Many printers accept print requests from a local area network -- in fact, a printer that doesn't would be useless in many environments.

      Given the unnecessary complexity of network protocols and print request protocols, that's a continual minefield of bugs to get incrementally fixed.

      So yeah, a printer likely needs to upgrade its software. Deliberate sabotage by the manufacturer, on the other hand, should be entirely optional.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

        My Kyocera colour laser printer keeps telling me that the firmware needs updating. Ok... Then I found that it can only be updated from a Windows machine. As my workplace is 100% MS free it can't be done so we just leave it alone. Its current software does everything we need from it and it accepts 3rd party toners without complaint... The device will sit there complaining until the cows come home as far as I'm concerned.

        As a new years resolution, we decided to spend a little time sniffing outgoing network packets from the hours that the network is supposedly idle. We have now blocked 39 sites mostly in Russia, Iran, India and China. So far none of our kit has either complained or stopped working.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

          You might want to consider geo-blocking at the firewall.

          The only service you might not want to enable this for is the company website.

        2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

          > sniffing outgoing network packets from the hours that the network is supposedly idle. We have now blocked 39 sites mostly in Russia, Iran, India and China

          I would more concerned as to what kit was CAUSING those packets in the first place

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

            Absolutely, 100%. Find which machine is the source IP and wipe it, you may well have one or more rootkits on your machines, or otherwise compromised hardware, and are possibly subject to a state-level cyber-attack, for which this bears a signature.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Automatic "upgrades"?

        Our home printer USB cabled into one computer, any other device on the network that wants to print does it via communicating with that computer (essentially one machine acts as a home print server) - any "network protocol complexity" handled on the computer.

        No need for us to be concerned about printer use any cartridge functionality getting bricked by updates that way.

  10. Luiz Abdala

    HP was driven out of the Brazilian market once Epson made bulk ink printers! HAHAHAH

    Epson decided to study our Brazilian market, and simply had to drop every single ink racketeering scheme HP used if they wanted to survive. People were modding their printers' cartridge to suck paint straight out of a GALLON installed outside the printer with IV lines drawing it in. It worked flawslessly.

    Epson then made a printer where you buy a liquid vial and squeeze it on the printer tank. You buy a 75cc vial of ink for 5 dollars. No more cartridges.

    Now considering that ink for printers cost CENTS PER GALLON, they are still overcharging it by 1000% or more and making due profit, but not in the level that HP is doing on the rest of the planet.

    It was a massive piracy industry that drove every single HP inkjet model out of business. It hit so hard that even they had to launch bulk ink models on these parts. And because it is a LIQUID, you can't put a chip floating in a liquid, altough with nanomachines they may try to dilute them on the paint.

    Epson recovered market from the pirates, with due merit, but I refuse to buy a HP inkjet printer ever again.

  11. Dr. Ellen

    I've used quite a few inkjet printers - HP, Epson, Canon - and had poor luck with replacement cartridges or inks. Since I don't use them that much, mainly for things with color, official cartridges aren't THAT onerous an expense. If I want to print out lots of something, that's what the laser printer is for.

  12. SammyB

    I remember they also had a date parameter which invalidated the cartridge even if it was still full and viable.

  13. gerryg

    Obsession with colour printing is the problem

    May I just put a word in for the Brother HL 1110? B&W laser printer for about £80 with good enough graphics for QR etc. Mine is about 8 years old. It has to think a bit before it prints the first page but with crisp type. A new no chip toner cartridge costs about £20. No dried ink no half empty problems and has never let me down.

    On the rare occasions I need a colour photo I get one in the high street for a couple of quid

    1. Philo T Farnsworth

      Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

      Yea and verily!

      I have a Brother HL 1240 that I bought so long ago that, if it was a person, it would be finishing up its PhD and looking for a postdoc position by now.

      A couple of years ago, one of the plastic rollers on the paper tray broke and I had to replace the tray (maybe ten bucks on eBay) and were were off and running again for a couple more decades, no doubt.

      I also have an HP color/colour laser printer that works fine without any "updates." Every couple of years I buy some new cartridges at the local refill shop and off I go again.

      Like the above, if I want color prints of my photos, I go to a local professional photo finisher and have work suitable for framing the next day.

    2. RedGreen925 Bronze badge

      Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

      "May I just put a word in for the Brother HL 1110? B&W laser printer for about £80 with good enough graphics for QR etc."

      And I will put word in for my Brother HL-L2320D I got for a total of $106.39 CAD according to the saved invoice from four and a half years ago including taxes, shipping and environmental fee.. Still on the starter cartridge with no signs of it dying of anytime soon. So far I have wasted the $12 for the extra spare cartridge I bought with it, oh that is included in the price too now I think. The thing works great nice crisp print all the time when I need it they make great printers.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

        I got an MFC-L2700DW - cheap toner, no worries machine, scans via xsaned under Linux, prints, just works. Would happily buy another Brother machine should this one break. It was one of the cheaper laser units at that shop, only downside is that in the new house we cannot put it in a sensible place, it is just about 3cm to long to sit in that gap. I'll eventually figure something out, it currently still lives on the floor.

        If I want to print a photo or ten I go to the drug store downtown. Or order them from one of the many places on the interwebs (I cannot be arsed to sit around for our year-end-clip-out-pictures-for-a-calendar-print-run to finish bevore the heat death of the universe).

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

          Can I just point out that xsane has one of the most insane user interfaces on the planet? Definitely not designed for the "average user" at all.

    3. Tim Roberts 1

      Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

      Yes, same with my Brother MFC-8460, purchased a long time because it also has a scanner.

      Don't do a lot of printing now, but did heaps when I was still working as a teacher.

      Paper roller jammed a month or so ago, but a good clean and printer head was all that was needed.

      My wife occasionally uses an inkjet to print photos/designs onto fabric for various quilting projects, but otherwise, laser rules in our house.

    4. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

      There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of justification for inkjets. If you do a lot of printing, laser printers are faster, give better quality, and are cheaper to own overall. If you need to do a lot of color printing, laser is again better since most are CYMK instead of RGB like inkjets, so you have four colors to do mixing and matching with instead of three. The toner carts can sit for literally years and still be just fine, a new one usually costs the same, or less, than ink, page counts are generally in the thousands instead of hundreds, and you can typically replace the individual color carts if you run out of one but the others are still full... Like, say you print the accounting ledger for Xitter, so use a lot of red. The only thing inkjets really have on laser is size and upfront price. Inkjet is the sucker's bet.

      1. Peter Ford

        Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

        I can honestly say that I have never seen an inkjet printer that uses RGB ink.

        Or any other sort of printer. They're all CMYK. Even the fancy wax printer things that we had in the 90s in our research lab (can remember what they were called)

        1. NightFox

          Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

          ..."Even the fancy wax printer things that we had in the 90s in our research lab (can remember what they were called)"

          Dye sublimation printers?

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

            We had one in the office in the late 90s ... I think it was a Tektronix Phaser. IIRC the "ink" was individual CYMB blocks of some kind of crayon-like wax.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

          RGB is an additive color space, so it would be a most remarkable violation of the laws of physics to use it for printing.

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

        A lot of red would be two cartridges; yellow and magenta. Just saying...

    5. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Obsession with colour printing is the problem

      A shout-out too, if you do need or want colour, for the Brother HL-L3230CDW which I bought a year ago to replace an ancient failing Samsung colour laser that had seen around a decade of service (it was due a replacement of both the main image belt, and fuser roll, and door and cartridge sensors were starting to fail, so it was more economical to replace). It seems you can now buy this one for around £160.

      It is now on its first full set of toner cartridges, after exhausting the partly-filled "demo" ones it ships with, so the annual running costs are about £50, which is less than the price of a single ink cartridge for some ink-jets.

  14. aerogems Silver badge

    Anti-Trust Enforcement Time

    This is the sort of thing that should be getting the attention of government regulators. This seems like exactly the sort of abuses anti-trust laws were created to prevent in the US, and like it would be very similar in spirit to the EU's gatekeeper regulations. I figure there are two simple solutions regulators could propose.

    1) HP and friends stop prohibiting 3rd party carts and compete on price and quality

    2) HP and friends start pricing inkjet printers closer to what they actually cost to produce so they aren't being subsidized by ink sales

    1. Dimmer Silver badge

      Re: Anti-Trust Enforcement Time

      3) stop phoning home.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Resellers can also no longer offer alternatives

    Earlier this year I had to sign that as a reseller, my company will no longer sell white-labeled consumables otherwise we wete no longer able to buy HP branded consumables...

    They go as far as blocking selling to other resellers that have not signed a same convention. They went as far to set up a website to validate that the other reseller has signed a similar agreement.

    Talk about monopolistic practices....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Resellers can also no longer offer alternatives

      IIRC, this is exactly what MS were fined for when "contracting" with PC OEMS/sellers and banning them from providing any OS other than Windows.

      And based on the article, HP are clearly even more nasty in their practices since they already paid out compo for exatly the same thing only a few year ago. Clearly the wrong kind of lessons were learned. I would hope that will be reflected in the fines or settlements.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Resellers can also no longer offer alternatives

        The lesson learned being the same as it ever was: the piddling "fine" is just cost of doing business. Multiply it by 100 and you might get their attention.

    2. jwatkins

      Re: Resellers can also no longer offer alternatives

      They don't seem to have done that with Amazon though?

      1. DaBoss

        Re: Resellers can also no longer offer alternatives

        Except, most stuff on Amazon is third party and not Amazon itself, and Amazon isn't stopping them from selling elsewhere, which many if not most of them do.

  16. TheVogon

    Canon Ink Tank printer here. I can chose to buy overpriced (but very good) Canon ink by the reasonably sized bottle or buy 3rd party.

  17. apsteinmetz

    This happened to me

    Could a customer BE any more annoyed? I had been using non-HP ink for many months and literally one morning my printer is disabled ... on purpose...with no notice or opt-in provision. Given that a person might be expected to buy several laptops/computers/printers over the course of many years, creating sworn enemies is not a good marketing strategy. I really wish I could have been in the room when HP approved this even after getting spanked previously.

    It is possible to roll back the firmware to a DRM-free version if you search around for the file. It's a colossal PITA to do. Once done, it is also possible to find, buried deep in settings, the ability to turn off auto firmware updates.

    I am now firmly in the never-HP - for anything - camp.

    1. bryces666

      Re: This happened to me

      "I am now firmly in the never-HP - for anything - camp."

      Ditto this. I had to replace all our old [hp dl380's) virtual machine host servers and SANs recently, our services management company wanted to buy HP again, I absolutely refused to go that path because of HP's disreputable shenanigans over the years. Ended up with Dell at a much lower price point for similar specs when compared to the HP offerings. So HP may have screwed us on ink but they lost out on $200K in server hardware sales.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: This happened to me

      As I said, last time this came up:

      HP has a history of serious abuses of the DMCA and other interference with the rights of owners of their devices. I have not done any business with HP since the Snosoft affair in 2002 and will not until they renounce abusing copyright/DRM laws. This latest action shows they still are not ready to acknowledge that if they sell me a product they cannot impose restrictions on how I use it.

      I created a lasting power of attorney last year and I added a rule that my attorney cannot do business with either HP or Sony.

  18. b1k3rdude

    And this is news how..? Hp have a long and proud history of f*cking over thier customers, nothing to see here.

    1. Brenda McViking

      It reminds the next generation that this is why you don't buy HP for anything serious.

      I've had a couple of hp inkjets on their 99p instant ink subscriptions. £60 for about 3 years printing for the 20 or so government forms, boarding passes and 40 odd Christmas circulars I need to fill out annually is acceptable. Otherwise who prints anything nowadays?

      I look forward to the next round of fines for this in 2035

      1. damiandixon

        The last time I bought ink for my epsom was 2015. Then it was 3rd party. Since then ink has been obtained from the local neighbourhood free sites... I've probably got 4yrs worth of ink in a box.

        Why pay for a subscription?

        The only other cost has been replacing the printer potty content and resetting the print count...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy a new printer and get the free cartridge then sign up for instant ink.

    .100 pages a month £5.49

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      How's that a good deal?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The £1.99 a month for 15 full colour pages works for my family with school aged kids who print a fair amount, and is definitely cheaper to run than the Canon printer that we replaced, but when our (no longer supported) HP printer dies, I'll probably be buying an Epson with refillable ink tanks.... (At least we got the HP printer for free from someone who wasn't using it....)

        Oh, and HP "smart" is clunky, slow, and overall pretty terrible. A simple plain boring printer driver would be so much better.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          I got a Canon G550 which has 6 tanks.

          The main, and very frustrating, drawback is that they disabled proper colour management on Macs (relying on AirPrint).

          The printer does do a decent job, but I like making profiles for various papers.

          And I hate firing up my gaming PC for printing out photos..

          Best price for a 6 colour tank printer I could find though.

      2. old_n_grey

        "How's that a good deal?"

        One reason might be because you could print 100 A4 photos every month for that £5.49. But in the real world, if you do a lot of printing every month, especially if that includes colour graphics, it seems very reasonable to me. Of course, because the sub covers pages printed, it's a real bugger when you print a document and the last page has only a couple of lines on it.


        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Sure, but not many print 1200 pages per year. Especially not with an inkjet.

  20. Andrew 36

    I wish I could say I was suprised that a large corporate would play these games, I really do. Sadly, I can't

  21. Charles Smith

    This time they can't blame ...

    This time the great destroyer of good computer supplies companies won't be able to lay the blame for poor figures on a UK software company. The overpaid and greedy executives are heading for a Budweiser moment as the bad news exceeds their marketing capabilities. I steer clear of the two letter company as it repeatedly tries subscription lock-ins. I'd not allow their printers in-house even if they had a negative price.

  22. Harry Tansey

    And they've just raised the Instant Ink subscription prices. Again

    I've had an Instant Ink subscription with HP since I bought my OfficeJet 3831 in 2016. I don't print much so have the lowest plan for 50 pages/month. Originally this cost £1.99 a month which was fine. In April 2022 they put it up (50%) to £2.99, now they're putting it up again (from 5th Feb) to £3.99. So apparently ink now costs 2x as much as it did less than 2 years ago???

    They used to send me emails telling me how much money I'd saved compared to buying retail cartridges instead of a subscription. They no longer do - because it's barely a saving now... from Nov 2022:

    "Happy Instant Ink Anniversary!! Congratulations, you have been an Instant Ink customer for 6 years! In the last year, you saved £19.92 on Ink for your HP OfficeJet 3831 All-in-One Printer because you did not need to purchase Ink at retail prices. We hope you have enjoyed the convenience and flexibility of printing with HP Instant Ink.".

    So with another £12 a year it looks like now I'd be saving all of £6 a year against buying genuine cartridges.Here's my "Happy New Year" email I received 3rd Jan:

    "A change to your plan price is scheduled ... Dear xxxxxxxx, Thank you for subscribing to HP Instant Ink. As a valued customer we want to keep delivering the convenience and savings you expect for years to come. Today we're writing you about an upcoming price change to your HP Instant Ink plan for your OfficeJet 3831. We value your loyalty and trust in our service, and we believe it's essential to be transparent with this change.Beginning 05 February 2024, the monthly fee for your 50 page plan will be £3.99 (an increase of £1.00). You'll continue to experience worry-free printing , as we'll automatically ship you HP Instant Ink cartridges before you run out. We understand that everyone's needs are unique, and we want to offer you flexibility. If the new pricing doesn't align with your budget, we have alternative subscription plans available, including lower-priced options (see below options). You can review these plans, make changes, or you can cancel any time by visiting your account dashboard at Thank you for choosing HP Instant Ink, we look forward to continuing to serve you. HP Instant Ink Plan Options (effective 23 January 2024)

    Monthly Plan Plan Fee

    10 pages £1.49

    50 pages £3.99

    100 pages £5.49

    300 pages £11.99

    500 pages £18.49

    700 pages £25.49

    1500 pages £49.49"

    So... I've just bought an ink tank printer (not HP) and will be cancelling my subscription. But not before printing out a load of pure black pages just to get an extra cartridge delivered that I didn't otherwise need before the subscription stops. Mind you, they'll probably try to remotely brick the cartridge when they see the cancellation.

    As for the printer? Once the new carridges run out it will be stripped down for parts for projects but most bits are essentially plastic landfill. Well done HP, great job.

    1. Harry Tansey

      Re: And they've just raised the Instant Ink subscription prices. Again

      Did I say probably?...


      5.d.5) When Your Service is cancelled for any reason, HP will remotely disable the Subscription Cartridges and You will no longer be able to print with the Subscription Cartridges. In such a case, you will need to purchase a regular HP cartridge compatible with your printer, in order to continue printing.

      5.e) Subscription Cartridges Must be Returned by You to HP. You must return to HP all used Subscription Cartridges by following instructions for return and using the materials provided to You by HP (if any). Without limiting the foregoing, You must return the Subscription Cartridges to HP when (i) the Subscription Cartridges have been removed from the printer or You otherwise cease using them, (ii) Your Service is cancelled for any reason, or (iii) HP otherwise directs You to return the Subscription Cartridges to HP. You agree to not include items other than the Subscription Cartridges in any HP-provided postage prepaid return envelopes that You send back to HP. You assume any and all responsibility for any Cartridges You return to HP using a method of return that does not comply with HP’s instructions. You assume responsibility for ensuring that any cartridges not returned to HP are handled in accordance with applicable environmental law.

      So, I'll have to remove it's Internet access and see where that gets me.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: And they've just raised the Instant Ink subscription prices. Again

        "You agree to not include items other than the Subscription Cartridges in any HP-provided postage prepaid return envelopes that You send back to HP."

        Gee, I wonder why they added that?


  23. James Hughes 1


    I have a Lexmark colour laser with copier and scanner thing, gets a fair bit of use. The cartridge costs Are MENTAL. Printer cost £100, supplied ink lasted a couple of years, but replacement set of cartridges is £200+. So, never buying another Lexmark, and sounds like I shouldn't buy an HP. I do use after-market cartridges, but even they are very expensive, and half the time don't work.

    I should probably get a B&W laser that is cheap to run for the majority of printing, but do need colour less frequently. Keep the Lexmark for the colour stuff.

    So, any recomendations?

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: S

      "So, any recomendations?"

      After market toner?

      I got some for my Brother colour laser, and it's acceptable quality. (Laser colour printing isn't all that impressive anyway.)

    2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: S

      If you want cheap lowish volume printing, then a mono laser and a colour inkjet where the printer is not subject to nozzle clogging is probably your best option.

      The cartridge costs for your laser are not mental, first party laser cartridges have always been expensive to buy. That's one reason why I always avoid the tempting second hand colour lasers on ebay : it would take too long for me to recoup the cost due to low printing volumes (the other reason is usually the sheer size and weight of ex corporate high volume colour lasers).

      A full set (CMYK) of toner cartridges for some Lexmark models is 100 quid for a third party which strikes me as perfectly reasonable. If those don't actually work properly, then clearly there is a reason to spend 200 quid on the genuine article. It may sting, but the per page cost is very low, and is worth it if you're printing those volumes.

      You do realise 100 quid for a multi function printer complete with (probably not full) toner cartridges is incredibly cheap?

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: S

        Seriously, spend the £50 more and get a colour laser. You can easily print only in black and white/greyscale if you need to, without using the colour toner cartridges, and the black ones are usually cheaper (especially non-branded compatible ones). That way, you don't need a shitty inkjet for the occasional low-quality colour print, after half an hour of cleaning the dried ink out of the clogged nozzles.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: S

          It all depends on your printing requirements, a colour Brother laser appears to be double the cost of a mono one, and some mono laser printers on ebay are quite remarkably cheap if you are careful about what you choose. I have to say if I was personally buying from new again, I'd probably go colour laser, but I've a laserjet 4000 sitting right next to me and print very rarely.

          Colour lasers aren't up to the quality of inkjets, so if that is important and printing volumes are low, mono laser/colour inkjet provides the best mix of quality for a decent price even if it chews ink occasionally. If quality isn't important, or space is at a premium, a colour laser as an all in one solution might be best.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: S

            Colour lasers aren't up to the quality of inkjets

            I feel this is a statement that really needs qualifying. I've never seen an issue with colour printing on a laser printer, and the modern (actually LED, not laser) ones seem to be very good. They print at high DPI (600-1200 DPI is typical), don't seem to suffer from bleed, and as far as I can tell, ave decent colour reproduction. On the other hand, whenever I've printed something with a colour inkjet, I've been underwhelmed by the quality, it certainly hasn't appeared to be better.

            Of course, if you want to print photographs, neither is the right solution. If you were to print out a photo on an inkjet onto standard printer 80gsm paper, it might look okay for five minutes. Don't let it get damp, though, because inkjet printouts really like to bleed. So, you've printed your nice family photo and put it in a frame. What does it look like 2 years later, when the UV in sunlight has bleached out the magenta dye more than the cyan and yellow ones? How yellow is the paper? Are you now considering that maybe you should have got it printed properly at a photo place on a dye sublimation printer that uses proper UV stable dyes, onto photo stock that doesn't degrade (as fast)? The same arguments go for laser printers too, but to a lesser extent (and toner isn't water-soluble). Because the dyes in toner are distributed throughout a layer that is fused onto the surface of the paper, they tend to be more UV stable, compared to a layer of water-based dye sprayed onto a surface, which is what an inkjet does. Because they are fused onto the paper, they also have to be thermally stable, unlike inkjet dyes.

    3. Mike Friedman

      Re: S

      Yes. Brother. When I was a freelance consultant, I bought brother printers for all of my clients. They're very reliable. The software is decent and pretty straightforward and it doesn't install a lot of garbage. I also like that their laser printers, have a separate toner and drum and you can buy third-party toner and it works just fine.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I refuse to let my HP laser printer install any updatres

    Sadly I do have an HP laser printer. I've been largely happy with it apart from the obscene prices for toner cartridges. It is getting a bit old now and some aftermarket toner works while some doesn't. Luckily the same brand continues to work on it and I really don't use it much now anyway. It keeps nagging me to install the latest firmware but I absolutely refuse to install it because I don't trust HP to block the toner cartridge which does still work. When this printer finally dies there is not a chance in hell that I will buy another printer from HP. I will look at Epsom, Brother or any other brand but HP.

  25. I miss PL/1

    Here in America

    Costco would refill HP cartridges for $7. A couple years ago Costco stopped doing that. Probably HP threatened Costco to stop or we will pull out stuff from your store.

    Now I am thinking about the Epson printer tank printer. Why replace the whole cartridge when you can just put ink in the tank?

  26. Anne Hunny Mouse


    I'm old enough to remember when you could refill HP Inkjets with Parker Quink Ink and a syringe.

    Got me through my post-grad studies.

  27. Johnr

    Reasons not to by HP. And don't get me started on color lasers . I threw 2 in the trash bin (Cannon and Lexmark) after determining the cost of the cartridges exceeded the purchase price . In addition their wireless software was crap refusing to connect with other computers in the house. Bought an Epson workforce pro for $99 and it happily chugs along with $30 sets of aftermarket cartridges. In addition seamlessly connects with any computer in the house

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      I think that's an indictment on Cannon and Lexmark (I'd forgotten about them, probably through the trauma of owning one, once), not on colour laser printers in general. I'm very satisfied with my Brother one, which has much better network reliability than the old Samsung one which I had to swear at for half an hour to get it to reconnect to the home network every time the Vermin Media modem fell over, experienced a power cut or otherwise needed a reboot. Samsung are pretty much as guilty as HP concerning "DRM" and locking down their printers to "genuine" consumables, and if I'd known that at the time I bought it, I'd have swerved them too. I had a Lexmark inkjet once, and they are about the guiltiest in terms of selling the (incredibly flimsy) printer at a loss and stinging you for consumables. Cannon, I have no experience of, but it sounds like they are playing the same game as HP, Samsung, and Lexmark. By the way, the replacement printer might be cheaper than the set of inks, but the cartridges they come with are only part filled, so caveat emptor.

  28. blainehamilton

    HP shareholders hate this one trick!

    The next step on top of class action lawsuits costing HP millions in judgements, is anti competition investigations, and environmental ewaste fines in the billion$.

    Maybe if parts of the world refuse to allow HP printing produces to be sold they might change their attitude.

    Simple solution: never buy an HP printer again.

  29. Roj Blake Silver badge

    There's a reason...

    ...why the company's name is HP Inc.

  30. Scene it all

    No internet for you

    I have an HP printer but one of the first things I did when I got it was add a firewall rule to my internet router that blocks the printer from any communications, inbound or outbound, with the outside world. (I do the same with my surveillance cameras.) When this printer dies, its replacement will NOT be from HP, but somebody else who has good Debian support.

  31. chololennon
    Thumb Down

    HP printers... here we go again

    HP printers? no way

    A couple of months ago I ended up kicking my old HP 1020 Laser Jet in a similar way to Office Space movie. Aftter that, with the printer destroyed, I sent it to the bin. Why? Because every time I needed the printer (for the last 15 years), it did'n t work (on Linux/Windows). The problem was always related to HP drivers so, instead of circumstantial breeze printing, I had to spend several minutes (or hours) fixing the f*ck%$ problem.

  32. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

    The razor analogy is a good one

    HP printers (especially inkjets) should be considered to be akin to those razors with disposabel heads. Made out of cheap plastic, with flimsy parts, and all the profit is in the consumables.

    I'll get tired of saying it eventually, but if you want a decent printer, don't buy an inkjet, and certainly don't buy HP (they gave up making decent printers around the turn of the century). The same goes, to a certain extent, for Samsung and Epson, especially since HP took over doing the drivers for the Sammy ones.

    Spend a bit more, buy a solidly built printer that costs more up-front but has cheaper consumables, and get a colour laser unless there is s compelling reason why you need to get an inkjet. Apart from the reliability of print heads (and the eternal clogging / cleaning cycle if you hardly use it), inkjet inks are seldom water-fast, meaning the slightest bit of damp and they run. I've never come across an inkjet printer that wasn't the work of our Lord Satan* himself.

    *No I don't actually worship Satan, although I suspect HP executives may. This is for comedic effect, anyone interested in a religious discussion, please direct your comments to dev/null.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    class action settlement in which it paid $1.5 million

    clearly, this proves class action settlement should start at 1.5 billion usd. AT LEAST.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    not to provide any excuse for HP (let them burn in hell), but ink has gone up quite a lot (I know, since I started re-filling those one-off pilot and other pens). Price is at least 30 - 70% higher than what it was onyl a few years ago. Why? Because it can.

  35. staringatclouds

    One tip with printers on your network

    I have a 5yo HP color laserjet on my home network

    A bit of an overkill for two users, but it's convenient

    To avoid problems like automatic firmware updates bricking the printer or stopping me from using 3rd party cartridges I manually set the IP address outside the range the router hands out with DHCP & I don't set the router address, I suppose a random unassigned address outside the DHCP range would work too

    That way the printer can't call home

    Seems to work OK

  36. DaBoss

    It's a blatant money grab, sell you something then disable it later ( it's legally yours and you own it when they do this) preventing you from using anyone else's more rationally priced supplies.

  37. Tam Lin

    It's easy to see where they got the idea

    When I worked for Xerox in 1970 we charged the 2024 equivalent of between $1 and $12 per copy, depending on the lease and copies per month.

    Toner (very expensive), paper and electricity (lots and lots of it) not included, but maintenance was.

  38. martinusher Silver badge

    Look at the supply costs when choosing a printer

    I needed a new printer recently. I just needed something to print pages now and again so a black and white laser printer was ideal. The problem with these is supplies -- the print internals are replaced with the toner so the cost of toner can become significantly more than the printer. I decided to try a Panum; its an unashamably Chinese make but the printer appears to be more than adequate for domestic use and the toner costs are realistic.

    Yes, it works. Yes, there are drivers for it (Linux, Windows and Apple -- and they all work). Yes, it appears to be a normal "I give you money, you give me a printer" transaction -- all the major manufacturers seem to be following in HP's footsteps.

    BTW -- For commercial / office usage I've never met anything better than a Ricoh.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Look at the supply costs when choosing a printer

      What do both Ricoh, and Brother have in common? They are Japanese companies, and reflect the Japanese cultural epic of making things that are designed to last. HP, and Lexmark on the other hand, are US companies, and reflect the US cultural ethic of making something that only just works, and then locking in the customer for as long as possible to make as much profit from them as possible. Samsung is a South Korean mega-corp, and also reflect the US ethic, having imported it and run with it with a vengeance.

      Interestingly, Both Canon and Epson are also Japanese companies, and if they are as shitty as the US based ones, I am disappointed, but I just suppose it goes to show that greed truly is a multinational phenomenon.

  39. AndrueC Silver badge

    They aren't the only ones. It was sometime last year when my Canon printer developed a curious fault and couldn't print in magenta and lost 'focus' for black ink. The solution was to buy official Canon cartridges. I haven't bothered to swap out the black cartridge yet as the effect is not too bad.

    I think it must have been a stealth update. My printer was fine in early Summer and I didn't touch it for several months at which point it wouldn't print magenta. And it wasn't the age of the cartridge because I had a spare sealed one waiting and it had the same problem. It's a shitty thing to do.

  40. AlvordSky

    Dissatisfied "Instant Ink" Subscriber

    I'm ready to sign on to this class action whenever it becomes authorized! In Oregon, here. HP is acting as a classic "Hydraulic Monopoly" empire, here. (Also called a "Water Monopoly".)

  41. heyrick Silver badge

    "However, any subsequent failures attributed to that cartridge would be up to the customer to pay for."

    Given the cartridge simply slots in and contains its own print head, that's some straight up FUD.

    Asides from manufacturing faults causing short circuits, physical dimensions being incorrect, and possibly ink leakage [*], there's not really much a bad cartridge can do. It's not like it'll clog up the print head and wreck the printer...

    * - I only rank ink leakage as a "possible" problem as my HP has always been with Instant Ink and, I'll tell you, there's quite a lot of it where ink shouldn't be. To the point where I'd advise you to buy a box of panty liners (the flat type) to lay out underneath the thing. You know, just in case. And, no, I rarely print borderless so I dunno why it spews so much ink around inside itself.

  42. Mike Friedman

    This happened to me

    They bricked my printer by sending me an unauthorized firmware update in 2015, and I raised such a stink that they ended up sending me a new printer for free. But I was really pissed and I have never bought another HP printer. And I never will. When that "free printer" died, I replaced it with a Brother, and I've never looked back.

  43. Fizban64

    Happy Brother printer user, don't get this kind of business model. Just vote with your wallet and let companies that subscribe to this model of business practice die with their outdated thought procesess.

  44. sasswithclass54

    The same with Epson as we discovered yesterday, trying now to roll back firmware update...

  45. J__M__M

    rhetorical question for the lawyers

    Any particular reason they would agree to "we promise to never do it again... on certain models"?

    $5 says those certain models were already EOL'ed when they made the deal.

  46. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    And they are advertising that their printers are "less hated"

    Seriously, every time I read an HP story these days, I am filled with incandescent rage toward Carly Fiorina, and I never worked there.

  47. Ray Watson

    This user will be changing my printers and certainly NOT be using HP any further!!

    I use HP Instant Ink services but after reading the sheer number of complaints about HP secretly and without any customers agreements have installed this rogue update so they can remove any and all competition. GOODBYE HP!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is exactly the reason I won't buy their stuff any more. My last purchase was a Brother color laser printer. HP are now dead to me - they can rot in hell.

  49. Grinning Bandicoot

    This is nothing new. Back last century I needed a unit fast so based on my past experience with HP test gear I went out and bought HP. When time came to upgrade the hard drive found you had to fork over to them a bribe because of a little BIOS trickery. Bought a pre-merger Compacq laptop that failed under warranty and had to pay again to get it out of hock (post merger). I have in the past ranted about Hell's Products so I am not sure whether to feel pity or to say 'I til' you so.

    Same channel, same program just a different time.Recently I was reminded of Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero and his method of trash disposal: wouldn't HP offices make a nice recipient?

  50. grumpy-old-person

    Continuos ink systems

    Years ago, when I still used home printers I became furious at cartridge prices and small capacity.

    I had a continuous ink system installed which came with the ink tanks full, enough to print way, way more than the few millilitres of ink in print cartridges.

    A LITRE of ink from the fellow who supplied the continuous ink system cost about half what a single cartridge cost.

    Just out of curiosity I tried peeling back the HP cartridge labels and injecting a few millilitres of ink - worked perfectly!

  51. Oldtreker

    Cost of Ink

    I print maybe 150 pages a month. Mostly for my grandkids school stuff. I don’t recall anything on the HP Box stating I needed to use their ink. My HP8020 ink at Costco is a $155.00 for three color and two B&W XL cartridges. I paid about $200. for the printer three years ago. HP would do good for their customers if they lowered the cost of supplies because they also sell pc’s one of which I bought last summer.

  52. ZeroChaos85

    When you go to work, do you expect that you're going to be told what you'll spend your money on?

    That sounds odd, right? I mean, when your check is deposited in the bank, you already know that the power and water and mortgage payment are going to eat it up, BUT you also know that once a month you pay the bill and you're done with it. You also know that you could possibly find a better mortgage rate with another company if you need to worry about it. And I imagine that almost every single person in the United States just takes it for granted that when the bathroom light blows, they can run over to the store (Dollar General or WalMart or Home Depot) and grab a pack of (insert fave brand here) because THEY decide where they put that money THEY worked for.

    Now look at what HP is doing. You bought a printer and took it home and a month later you buy ink from a company that advertises third party high quality ink and then you load it in the printer and instead of continuing with the work you were doing, you get a popup error or something that says your printer is acting a fool. So, you check it and guess what? "You are using a non-HP print cartridge. Blah-blah-blah". "Well, no shit, since I bought the cartridges myself, I KNOW what they are. WTAF is my printer doing? Trying to 'get on to me'? And for discipline you hit me in my wallet?" HP is NOT all that great in the first place and the lawsuit points out that the company already makes a killing on the ink without behaving like some sort of printer owner nanny boss. If they need to bring in extra money, then they should look at the greedy SOBs at the top and think about why the CEO is worth 20 million a year (!!!!) when he seems to be running a campaign to become 2024s must self-important, greedy &@$%^@$*<.

    And speaking of that, he just admitted they want to turn printing into a subscription only service. So, this jerk is nothing but a POS. If HP has been sued so many times for the same thing, I think they need to be fined to hell and back or put out of business all together. They lied to the public, they purposely destroyed property that was no longer theirs to mess with (at least not in a way that intentionally causes harm), and then want to act like it is because of the possibility of a virus through a chip THEY put in the cartridges harming something? WTFE. If anyone reading this were to plan and plot a thing that caused monetary loss to another individual, there'd be at the least a heavy fine and possibly jail time. If an individual did it to a company? Certainly prison and all kinds of life destroying legal problems. But HP just continues to deliberately disregard the courts? And the courts refuse to put them in their place... and the people continue to do the SAME THINGS trying to protect themselves from predatory assholes and policies and getting the same results. And even THEN, the people trying to protect themselves can only do so when they first have the $$$ to hire an attorney. But HP is so sure of their place in a society of complacent and clueless people who don't know what's being done behind their backs (Or even in their faces!) that they don't stress saying things like when a customer buys a printer, HP is investing in THEM. NOT the actual reality which is that in a perfect (or even semi-good) exchange of supply and demand, the customer is investing a company that should do what they are intended to do-provide a product which they stand behind AS IT IS for some green paper and then leave the customer alone. If treated fairly that customer should come back unless they find better deals elsewhere. But greed and a need for piles of "money" which is worthless anyway has turned most major companies into lying, cheating, sneaky and not so sneaky weights on the people in society who still believe or remember when comp[anies actually made quality products and BS stunts like planned obsolescence would have caused a company to disappear almost immediately upon the company mentioning such mess.

    People need to evaluate if they really want to work forever for crap they'll never own and to think about how long 30, 40, 50 YEARS is going to be to be paying monthly subscription fees for basic stuff people have done at home since forever just fine without interference from companies OR the government or government protected/backed companies. How can so many people be perfectly happy with allowing other people to micromanage the money YOU work for?

  53. Not Yb Bronze badge

    "the previously discontinued "Dynamic Security.""

    Having kept track of this "security" system for a while, it was discontinued for only a few months at best. They quietly put it back into new (and old) printers almost immediately.

    If you were running 3rd party cartridges and installed an update... a few days/weeks later, it would claim a carefully vague "cartridge problem" and refuse to print as if your cartridges just broke for no reason. No real breakage occurred other than a flag in their firmware saying "this is 3rd party ink, refuse to use it in about a week". The idea being to convince customers that it wasn't the update that broke the cartridges, while it actually was that update.

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