Class action lawsuit against HP over blocked cartridges

Paragraph[German]A small addendum to a topic that I’ve had on my scratch sheet for a few weeks now. The printer manufacturer Hewlett Packard (HP) has been annoying users lately by blocking the use of third-party ink or toner through firmware updates. A class action lawsuit was recently filed against HP in the US because of this. Here is some information.


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The hook for the class action lawsuit

The company Hewlett Packard (HP) thinks that it does not earn enough on ink toner for printers. For example, I had addressed an interview from HP CEO on this topic in the article HP CEO on inkjet printers and third-party cartridges. HP keeps surprising its customers by blocking the use of third-party cartridges via firmware updates. I last reported on this practice in the blog post HP firmware update for ink/laser printers blocks third-party cartridges (Nov. 2020) – but there are other posts on similar actions at the end of the article.

In 2016, HP already had to row back once – after a particularly underhanded action – and roll out a correction firmware update. HP had released a firmware update for various inkjet office printers on March 12, 2016. As of September 13, 2016, the time bomb in the firmware became active. From that point on, third-party ink cartridges were no longer accepted on certain HP printer models. People using third-party ink cartridges or refillable ink cartridges received an error message. The printer reported that the ink cartridge was defective or damaged.

Smart users have since keep their hands of HP printers, as the manufacturer cyclically repeats this little game of rendering third-party printer cartridges unusable via firmware updates. I have documented this in detail in various articles linked at the end of the post.

Class action lawsuit in the USA

However, HP probably broke the camel’s back with the last action in November 2020. Again, numerous HP printers worldwide were rendered unusable by firmware updates, because they no longer accept third-party printer cartridges. I get such things very quickly – this time through user comments on the blog post Does HP blocks 3rd party ink cartridges again on its printers (Jan. 2019)? I had then taken up the case in the blog post HP firmware update for ink/laser printers blocks third-party cartridges (Nov. 2020).

Then in early March 2020, I received this comment on my English-language blog post Does HP blocks 3rd party ink cartridges again on its printers (Jan. 2019)?  Back in December 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against HP in a district court in Northern California.


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Sammelklage gegen die Firma HP

MOBILE EMERGENCY HOUSING CORP. and TRACK RAT ENTERPRISES, INC. d/b/a PERFORMANCE AUTOMOTIVE & TIRE CENTER are taking legal action against HP for rendering their HP printers unusable. The plaintiffs’ allegation is that HP is unlawfully forcing users of its printers to purchase and use only HP ink and toner supplies. It does this by unauthorizedly transmitting firmware updates for HP printers over the Internet that lock out competitors’ ink and toner cartridges. I particularly liked, what  the lawyers wrote:

HP’s firmware “updates” act like malware – adding, deleting, or modifying code, degrading the capabilities of HP printers, and making competitors’ ink cartridges incompatible with HP printers.

But back to the issue at hand, counsel contends that Plaintiffs and Class Members, who reasonably and lawfully purchase competitors’ much less expensive and equally effective consumables, have been left with unusable printers and consumable cartridges as a result and due to the design of HP equipment. It is also argued that Plaintiffs and the Class do not have the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether to accept the Firmware Update and the purported benefits associated with it, or to reject the Update.

As a result of HP’s malware, owners of HP printers are regularly forced to purchase HP cartridges, which HP sells at significant markups. Currently, I do not know the status of this class action lawsuit. But just so you know, HP is regularly hit with such class action lawsuits in the US. On this website, a group of lawyers is soliciting plaintiffs and writes that one case ended with a settlement of 1.5 million US dollars.

I would like to read about such a lawsuit against Microsoft regarding their Windows 10 updates and upgrades.

Similar article:
HP printer firmware disables refill ink cartridges
HP apologizes, new firmware update for printers soon
HP: New printer firmware re-enables refill ink cartridges
Firmware Update blocks again non HP Printer Cartridges
Is a HP Firmware Update blocking again Third Party Ink Cartridges?
Does HP blocks 3rd party ink cartridges again on its printers (Jan. 2019)?
HP firmware update for ink/laser printers blocks third-party cartridges (Nov. 2020)
Hints for HP Printer Firmware Downgrade
HP ends Free Instant Ink subscription for new customers
HP Solution Center broken due to missing flash (Jan. 2021)


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6 Responses to Class action lawsuit against HP over blocked cartridges

  1. T. Ward says:

    I purchased an HP all in one 8028 printer in late 2020 @ Costco. The Printer said free 4 months of refills, in the last few days the Printer stopped Printing stating I need to update my Account info. I bought more cartridges at Costco but Did not open them. The printer says its OUT of ink. I pulled all cartridges & they Have LOTS of ink in them, you can hear it when its lightly shaken. I tried to get on a .99 Cent a month for 15 pages a month, AFTER I input my CC info it goes to next step & states its Now $2.99 a month for lowest price. I did not continue after that & logged out. I will return my Printer as Defective at Costco for a full refund. HP is Screwing customers. I have cartridges that have Lots of ink left but in order to continue using it, HP insist I pay for the Ink Left in those cartridges that I have already Paid for. What a SCAM on Customers.

  2. Cathy Milne-Ware says:

    I used HP Instant Ink on both of my printers. When I canceled the first one, my printer was locked because I refused to pay for next month’s bill.
    My second printer the same thing but I found a workaround – I have to keep updating it to make it work — several times a day.
    The reason I went with Instant Ink with my printers was due to third-party inks locking my printer.
    I am so angry with the lack of credibility on the part of HP Instant Ink and HP Printers. I

  3. Plinio Pimentel says:

    I will never buy an HP product again. Their firmware update from October 2020 bricked my LaseJet Pro Printer. Their petty business practices, forces me to not do business with them. I will use and promote their competitors instead. For the price of their cartridges, I can replace the printer with a new one from a competitor with similar specifications. I will refrain from using any of their other products as well. This is a repeat shenanigan they did back in 2016.

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  5. Glenda Batzer says:

    I recently dropped the HP auto ink program and did not know they would shut off the cartridges I have through teir ink program and now I have to go out and purchase them and throw the still full ones away. This is beyond sleazy.

  6. Robert Carey says:

    Last week, August, 2021, my HP 6700 Officejet Premium printer suddenly stopped me from using a non-HP ink cartridge, which I have used before with no problem. The printer was purchased 9 years ago, and still is in good condition. But recently HP did something that changed my computer so that non-HP ink cartridges will no longer work . Is there any new class action lawsuit concerning this matter? The previous lawsuits apparently did not stop HP from doing the same thing they did before. I have on hand ink cartridges which are now useless. I am so angry at HP that I do not want to buy another ink cartridge from them. Any suggestions or solutions?

  7. Gregory Kirkpatrick says:

    I purchased an HP Office Jet Pro 6968 Printer. I used both HP and 3rd party ink cartridges. About 6 months ago the HP Office Jet Pro 6968 Printer stopped working when I put in new a 3rd party ink cartridge. I have tried to downgrade the firmware but I cannot because the Dynamic Security Feature will not let me. This is like buying A Chevy with Good Year Tires and Chevy makes it so I cannot put on any other type of tire! Replicate that to the oil filter, hose, air filter, etc. why would I ever buy another Chevy. I will never buy any kind of HP product again. It’s a boat anchor and HP made my 3rd party ink cartridge purchase useless and screwed me out of money.

    I am happy to join any lawsuit to bring this rabid dog to stop biting the consumers!

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