Anyone whose HP printer blocked them from using non-HP ink after a firmware update.
What’s Going On?
Attorneys are looking into whether HP pushed out firmware updates to its printers that illegally blocked consumers from using non-HP ink. If so, it’s possible a class action lawsuit could be filed over HP’s potentially anticompetitive practices.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help consumers get back money for the lost value of the non-HP ink they purchased and for having to pay for more expensive HP ink. It could also force HP to roll back any firmware updates that are found to be anticompetitive.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether HP is illegally suppressing competition by pushing out firmware updates for its printers that block consumers from using non-HP ink.
According to media reports and consumer complaints, the updated printers display a message that reads “Non-HP Chip Detected” and advises the user that third-party ink cartridges “have been blocked by the printer firmware because they contain a non-HP chip.” The attorneys believe HP’s ban on other brands’ ink may be anticompetitive and illegal – and they’re now investigating whether a class action lawsuit can be filed to help compensate consumers for the lost value of third-party ink they can no longer use and having to pay higher prices for HP ink.
HP Printer Ink Firmware Updates
As HP explains in a support article, firmware updates that block the use of third-party ink cartridges are part of what the company calls “dynamic security.” According to the article, HP printers “are designed to work with Original HP Ink and toner cartridges” and will block cartridges that use non-HP chips or circuitry.
Ars Technica reported that HP introduced dynamic security to some printer models in 2016 and, since then, has periodically pushed out firmware updates that completely block the use of third-party ink “at any moment and without notice” to customers.
One Reddit user complained in March 2023 that their printer, without warning, no longer displayed a “can’t guarantee quality” message when using non-HP ink and instead would not print at all until an HP cartridge was inserted.
HP has already faced several class action lawsuits, including one that resulted in a $1.5 million settlement, over its printers’ allegedly anticompetitive firmware updates.
According to Ars Technica:
After paying up, it seems HP is set on continuing to use DRM [digital rights management] to discourage its printer customers from spending ink and toner money outside of the HP family.”
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit, if filed and successful, could help compensate people who bought non-HP ink that they were no longer able to use after their printer was updated. It could also help consumers get back money they spent on more expensive HP ink – and potentially force the company to end any anticompetitive practices.