HP ends Free Instant Ink subscription for new customers

[German] HP announced recently the end of lifetime Free HP Instant Ink subscription for customers. The Free Instant Ink offer was dedicated to customers with low print volume. After a lot of protest from customers, the program will continue at least for existing customers, but will end for new customers.


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I had recently reported within the blog post HP CEO on inkjet printers and third-party cartridges, that HP CEO Enrique Lores was complaining about the annoying "unprofitable customers" who use foreign cartridges in the good HP inkjet printers. He explains how the preproduction costs increase for printers that use foreign cartridges. HP has taken steps to optimize the business by reducing the number of unprofitable customers. But they have had more in stock.

Das (Free) HP Instant Ink-Abonnement

There is what HP calls the Instant Ink subscription. People was able to select an HP Instant Ink subscription option from various subscription levels on this HP page, that they think is right for their printer and print volume. Here is the old German HP offer for this subscription.

HP Instant Ink subscription

The promise: People will get ink even before it runs out while printing. HP made two promises to customers there. HP advertises on the page with: Save up to 70% (it's now reduced to 50% on the HP page) on ink! Depending on the subscription level, people could then print x pages per month. Those who wanted to print more were out of luck and had to book a higher volume via subscription. About the trap that HP held there for their subscribers, if they no longer want to be subscribers and intended to buy ink individually, I had reported in the blog post Take care: HP Instant Ink.

In the above offer, was is also a 'free rate', a 'scoop' of HP's marketing for absolute 'low volume printers', to lure people into a subscription. People who print only 15 pages per month get free ink via this subscription model – as long as the printer lives. Those who once needed more paid $1 per 10 pages – so once a thesis was printed, $150 to $200 was gone. Instead of dollars, you can also use euros.


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The Free HP Instant Ink subscription ends

In November 2020, it was then said that HP would end this model – if customers visit this HP page, the will find only paid subscription offers, as you can see below.

HP Instant Ink subscription

The HP announcement naturally triggered a storm of indignation among affected users and also consumer protection organizations. That forces HP to an U turn – at least partially. I had the information for a few days now. In the article HP Ends 'Free Ink for Life' Subscription Plan the US organization CR (Consumer Report) indicates, that the free ink tier remains for existing customers for the life of their printers, according to an announcement from HP. New customers has to pay one Dollar for it's ink subscription.

When I look at the following posts about HP inkjet printers, I get the impression that HP must have some sort of love-hate relationship with its customers.

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Take care: HP Instant Ink
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