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Expensive printer ink maker is fast becoming the Ivan the Terrible of hardware

by on26 May 2023

HP sinks to new lows with greenwashing efforts

Maker of expensive printer ink HP has constantly been flogging its products slightly on the dark side of the force, however lately it has been reaching new lows, which should be starting to attract the interest of regulators.

HP’s much-mocked business model involves flogging you a cheap printer and then making up its cost by charging over the odds for ink. Over the years, there have been suggestions that printers waste their ink, or pretend cartridges are empty when they’re not, or lockout official cartridges from other regions. Lately there was even a firmware update called “Dynamic Security” which contained malware that blocks batches of third-party cartridges while pretending to harden your printhead against hacks.

But the latest move slipped under the radar in 2020 is called HP Plus. The HP Deskjet 2755e cost $85. It was a wireless colour printer, scanner, and six months of free ink. It also comes with HP Plus.

Lets be clear about this. HP Plus is evil and is no use to god or humanity. A user has seven days to claim your free ink, starting when you plug a new printer into the wall. If you move fast HP will extend your warranty an entire year, give you an “Advanced HP Smart app.”

According to a new complaint by the International Imaging Technology Council (IITC) HP Plus comes with a firmware update that utterly removes your printer’s ability to accept third-party ink. You must buy “genuine” HP ink as long as you use the printer.

HP has done a good job with the lock-out too with some of the biggest third-party manufacturers saying that they have not yet found a way to get their aftermarket carts (or even user-refilled “genuine HP” cartridges) working with an HP Plus printer.

Despite HP claiming you can “change or cancel anytime” there’s no way to deactivate the firmware. HP’s tech support, admitted this. The only option is to buy a new printer.

The IITC, a group representing ink cartridge remanufacturers, isn’t yet suing the world’s leading printer company. The complaint instead seeks to push back on HP’s environmental credentials by petitioning a nonprofit organisation, the Global Electronics Council (GEC), which maintains an “EPEAT” registry of environmentally sound products.

The irony is that while HP is offering to plant a tree for your Printer it is actually causing more waste. There is junked printer ink and possibly thrown away printers to consider. It would take a lot of trees to make that mess go away.

So when HP gets these printers on the EPEAT registry, it successfully greenwashes its reputation. The company gets to stick EPEAT labels all over its website and products, each of which suggests an independent third party has certified that HP gives a toss about the planet.

You never have these sorts of problems with a Brother machine and ours has been running for years.


Last modified on 26 May 2023
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