HP Accused Of Expiring Ink Cartridges

from the must-use-by... dept

What is it with printer manufacturers and their increasingly sophisticated means of screwing over the customers who buy ink from them? Even going beyond various attempts at using technology to block out competition, printer makers have long been accused of having their printers claim a cartridge is empty when it's still 25% full. However, some consumers are claiming that HP goes a step further, and includes a "must use by" date encoded in the chip in their ink cartridges, meaning that if you don't use the ink by a certain date, no HP printer will let you use it any more. It's not clear if the complaint focuses on the fact that this exists at all, or (more reasonably) that the expiration date isn't given to consumers. HP's defense, of course, will most likely be to point out that older cartridges may clog up, causing damage to the printers. Which may, in fact, be true. However, without telling the buyer that the cartridge expires, they may have opened themselves up to trouble, as many people will assume the cartridges will remain good.

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  1. icon
    shanen (profile), 21 Feb 2012 @ 6:10pm

    Not just a calendar thing

    For whatever it's worth, I've seen this kind of thing repeatedly with my oldish HP 2750 printer. However, I'm pretty sure it can't be hard-coded on a date in the print cartridge. One reason is that HP can't be sure the printer will know the correct date. Even if it's a network printer, it may not have any access to a time server. The other reason is just from the evidence of my latest round of experiences. First it fails, then it works, then it fails, then it works... Right now it's working, and the sensor apparently reports 3/4 full, but I definitely haven't printed much with this cartridge.

    Having said that, I don't print a lot and this printer has been fairly problematic over the years. Less so than other brands I've tried, but about par for HP. My guess is that it's just in their interest to allow the ink to clot up after a while. It's confusing because touching a tissue to the print head seems to show plenty of ink coming out, but I'm guessing the ink has actually changed its consistency enough so that the printer thinks it's dry. Perhaps there is a temperature-related aspect, too.

    If you want to put it in more polite terms, why should HP try to make print heads that last a long time even if you only print a little? They just optimize for the needs of most of their customers, and you can always 'restore' the printer with a new print cartridge since that includes a new print head.

    Yeah, I feel a bit swindled with ink that I didn't use, and I wish they sold an even smaller cartridge for my case, but it's still better to spend $30 for a new cartridge than much more for a new printer--except that the new printer would have various new features.

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