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
    RichT (profile), 7 May 2010 @ 4:10am

    Photosmart B9180

    The HP con goes beyond stopping the printer with expired ink. My B9180 will happily let me print after warning the ink has expired, but it purposely degrades the print quality in a way that looks just like blocked print heads. I have proved this by replacing all the inks and setting the computer clock 2 years in the future... at which point the printing becomes poor. Then simply putting the date back and rebooting and the printing is fine. This can be repeated time and time again. I am so annoyed I'm going to buy a new Epson printer just so I don't have to let HP have any more of my money. I always have kept a good stock of spare inks and it has completely backfired on me, having now had to throw out 6 brand new inks!

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