Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




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), 12 Mar 2012 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Not just a calendar thing

    "Warranty" means something after all. When I looked at it yet again and more closely, I realized the printer cartridge in question had a FUTURE date written on it. Only two months in the future, but there's still no way to interpret that as a manufacturing date or anything along those lines, at least not without a time machine.

    Armed with this new information, I returned to the HP website. That was actually kind of unpleasant because of the language issues, but I don't want to make a big issue of it because when I finally managed to find the right phone number and received the return call from the right person, they quickly agreed to replace the ink cartridge. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm confident it will soon. The policy of quickly standing behind their warranty actually makes a lot of sense, though I still think they could do a bit better--except that it seems they have now gone the other route...

    He told me that the ink cartridges for their their new printers no longer integrate the print head. I actually think this is a bad decision for the consumers, but probably more profitable for HP. I guess I'll have to rest content as a HP shareholder, and just mask my consumer-level dissatisfaction behind the replacement ink cartridge.

    Still, on balance I have to give kudos to HP on this one. Not sure if I'll have to buy another printer given how rarely I need to print these years, but I'll probably go with HP if it happens. (Don't get me started on my evil experiences with printers...)

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