HP to compensate customers over incompatible printer cartridges

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If you have an HP printer and you cannot print with third-party ink cartridges, you may be entitled to $50 in compensation.

HP has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) a court-enforceable undertaking to compensate customers with non-HP ink cartridges.

Customers with non-HP ink cartridges found that they were not able to print, due to an undisclosed technology in HP printers.

This technology is called ‘Dynamic Security Feature’ (DSF) and is designed to prevent non-HP ink cartridges from being used in a number of HP printer models.

In September 2016, some owners of HP ‘OfficeJet’ inkjet printers who used third party ink cartridges had those ink cartridges rejected. In many cases an error message said the cartridge was damaged when this was not the case.

It is estimated that HP sold 220,000 of these printers, with a large portion of them having DSF installed before purchase. A number were also affected when DSF was installed as part of a firmware update.

“Consumers were not made aware of the restriction on using non-HP ink cartridges when buying the printer or downloading the firmware update and were denied the choice to accept or reject it,” explained Dr Michael Schaper, Deputy Chair of the ACCC.

“The ACCC was also very concerned that HP used technology to change these printers’ functionality after purchase, without alerting consumers to the restriction on the use of non-HP ink cartridges which was being installed.”

HP admitted that not disclosing the DSF technology may have been in breach of Australian Consumer Law by engaging in false, misleading or deceptive conduct.

HP will now display at the point of sale and on packaging the printers that have DSF technology enabled. The company has also introduced a firmware update to remove DSF from certain printer models, which will allow customers to use third party ink cartridges.

In a statement, HP said: “We are pleased that HP Australia has reached a settlement with the ACCC. HP uses dynamic security in select printers (a) to protect the quality of the consumer experience from potential functionality risks that can be introduced using cartridges with cloned chips or modified or non-HP circuitry, (b) to protect HP’s intellectual property, and (c) to reduce counterfeiting of HP supplies and warranty fraud.

“HP Australia will continue using dynamic security in select printers in accordance with its settlement with the ACCC.”

Amendment: On Friday 4 May, HP stated the following:

We are pleased that HP Australia has reached a settlement with the ACCC. HP uses dynamic security in select printers (a) to protect the quality of the consumer experience from potential functionality risks that can be introduced using cartridges with cloned chips or modified or non-HP circuitry, (b) to protect HPs intellectual property, and (c) to reduce counterfeiting of HP supplies and warranty fraud. HP Australia will continue using dynamic security in select printers in accordance with its settlement with the ACCC.

The HP printer models affected

There are quite a few HP models that have been affected by the conduct. All fall under the ‘OfficeJet’ moniker. They are:

  • HP OfficeJet Pro 6230
  • HP OfficeJet 6820
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 6830
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 8610
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 8620
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 8630
  • HP OfficeJet Pro X551dw
  • HP OfficeJet Pro X476dw MFP
  • HP OfficeJet Pro X576dw MFP
  • HP OfficeJet Pro X451dw

Consumers seeking compensation will have to put in a claim on the HP website, and must make a claim by 13 August 2018.

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