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.


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.


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)

Cookies helps to fund this blog: Cookie settings

This entry was posted in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

28 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.

  4. Advertising

  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!

  8. Tom Earls says:

    I too have an HP 8250 printer that stopped working when I put in a 3rd party cartridge. The printer has been taking up space in a closet for 4 years. How can I get compensated for the printer? And the left over ink??

  9. JOHN MITCHEL says:


  10. Greg B Jewell says:

    I have for years been angry that our government has allowed HP to violate the Sherman Act by making it either impossible or difficult (having to verify a non-Hp cartridge every print job).

  11. Dan Hickman says:

    My problem was not a non-hp cartridge, but the hp apps wouldn't work. I tried to scan a document, and it wouldn't let me one too many times. I called HP, I told him that I wanted my ink canceled. All of my cartridges were 3/4 full, they said that my ink would be shut off. I paid for the printer and the ink! When I told them that if I can find some way to block them, my name would be on it. Two days latter, they charged me again. Don't stand for it, people. Stand up for what is right. Even for a printer that's yours.

  12. WILLIAM BRECK says:

    I have 2 hp printers officejet pro 8020 and an office jet pro 9010 both bought and both are being used. I have tried to save money and buy 3rd party ink but to no use that did not work and I call HP and because I pay every month they sent me new ones, which a lot of time was wasted, and when I got the new ink and installed them they were not coded to work in my printer so now I have 2 printers that I can not use till the send more ink lol if I go to the store there is no guarantee they will work because of the firmware update. I want to be a part of this suite they need to fix this problem. they remind me of Gremlins.

  13. Cindy Miller says:

    I have a HP 3700 All-In-One, that will will not accept the LDL refill ink pods that I loaded.
    Will there be another Class Action lawsuit. Because it sure looks like the last one (that they lost) did not make a dent.
    This suveillance is scary, and has implications that go waaaaaay beyond just printer ink.
    So sign me up!

  14. Angela Ewing says:

    At least 15 years ago my HP printer became totally dysfunctional despite a dedicated and determined support person guiding me through a series of fixes. It was probably about 2005. I had no idea a business would stoop so low. But that gives a person an idea of other exploits being done through analytics. The support person gave up in tears, literally, after guiding me through all kinds of fixes. I felt bad. I thought it was malware. I guess it was. I had to throw that printer away. Without realizing the printing scam I knew it was a scam.
    At least now I know what it was about.

  15. RScott says:

    We have been, although blissfully unaware, successfully using 3-party toner cartridges in our Color Laser Jet Pro MFP M281fdw printer since the "baby starter" cartridges emptied. Apparently, the last weeks of November, 2021, warning messages sent from the HP gestapo elves miraculously appeared indicating the "cartridges blocked for containing a non-HP chip." A very pricey printer and now the company wants to hold everyone hostage to buy only their toner cartridges? NO ONE in my company will ever buy another HP anything. Hope the ill-gotten, stolen funds were worth it.

  16. steve ovrevik says:

    I just bought a 3rd party ink cartridges from Amazon. Amazon stated the cartridges would work with my HP Officejet 8035. The cartridges were blocked by the firmware on my printer. This is plain crooked. I hope the Class Action Lawsuit is successful and you get a painful amount of money.

  17. Margaret-Diane Dubé says:

    go ahead and publish email address. This just happened to me; boyfriend couldn't figure it out (printing problem) either, but since I have an intellectual property background in California, I sat up and thought son of a bitch. HP has caused me anguish, anger and inconvenience What the hell, they can't be allowed to do this. How archaic is this approach.

    Amazon cartridges too. I was really inconvenienced re project deadline. Count me in if I can join. I worked at Townsend and Townsend and Crew which merged with Kilpatrick Townsend just after I retired. I know all about class action suits and how you have to hurt a company financially to get its attention.


    Margaret-Diane Dubé
    *** Personal data due to general data protection rules (GDPR) removed ***

    • guenni says:

      I need to fulfil European GDPR, so private data like addresses or phone numbers are removed. If somebody like to contact Margaret-Diane Dubé, please left a comment. I can forward the email address to here.

  18. M. Snethen says:

    I"ll join this lawsuit.
    What might work better is thousands of lawsuits in small claims court against HP. HP would not able to cover the cost of defending itself against a large amount of small claim cases.
    Any follow-up from others that are angry?

  19. Kayley Arga says:

    I bought an Officejet 6978 in 2018. In Aug 2022 I just got the error that my authentic HP 902XL ink cartridge will not work. I have about 5 902XL cartridges that are brand new and half are "expired". I realize I'm late for the party with my complaint. My printer is older than my ink cartridges from 2020 and 2021. I keep them stored in drawer in my office. I just reach in and grab whatever. I had no idea that HP could send an update that would enable my printer to stop working without any warning. I'm furious! I will tell everyone I know my experience with HP and will never buy another HP product again. Fortunately I still have absolute control over where I spend my money and with another company.

  20. Kathleen Smith says:

    Just replaced ink and they are blocking use of it! No more hp products ever!

  21. Jennifer Tano says:

    Can't print now because color was low so I bought non – hp ink so I can continue using my XL HP Black ( I don't need color) Retired now and inflation makes it cost prohibitive. but it stopped due to Chip not being HP. Is there something in fine print that says I can only use HP ink? So annoyed. I would also happily join that law suit

  22. Melissa says:

    I also need to join this lawsuit. Please sign me up if it isn't too late

    • guenni says:

      I don't coordinate a law suite – it's difficult from Germany to do such a thing for US citizen. If there is a person in charge for such a law suite, feel free to let a comment here with contact details for interested people. Thanks.

      Günter Born

  23. donna rogers says:

    It's not that I did not like to buy the ink. I don't like the idea that I am FORCED to do anything to use a machine I purchased. When it didn't even let me use the ink I paid for because I didn't want to extend my subscription, that has to be illegal.

  24. John Buchanan says:

    Going out today to buy a different printer. A business practice that is as mean and sneaky as what HP has done does not deserve another dime of my $. This type of control should be disciplined. Let's show HP that we have power by not purchasing anymore of their products.

  25. Michael Hall engineer says:

    I used my HP Office jet pro 7720 since the original cartridges ran out by using refillable ones.
    I got round the threatening message somehow but cannot remember how I did it!
    The new message as it seems says 'incompatible cartridge' with other mumbo jumbo which will not go away and will not let me print even black only .
    Years ago now I complained to HP about the touch screen that was unresponsive and they knew it but did nothing. I also complained about the fact that although the printer was set to print one page it had a mind of it's own and printed exactly as it wanted sometimes 5 copies when I set it to 1…… Why isn't HP done for wasting world recourses = paper at three times what a normal printer would use and of course the waste in ink that I have paid for…………compensation required I think ?

  26. Atul Arora says:

    Same story across the globe. Experience horrible service from HP in Singapore. They have deliberately slowed down the opening of the App, and without that, the printing and Scan won't work.

    Shame on you HP!!! You are evil. May the company shut down for good soon!!!

  27. John Chatwin says:

    I have been using my HP Deskjet 2540 printer successfully for several years using non HP replacement ink cartridges, but unexpectedly my printer reported an incompatible ink cartridge that had be working perfectly well up to that point. I replaced it with two other new non HP cartridges that appear to have been blocked and and are unusable. I have disabled the cartridge protection function on my printer settings but cannot use the new 'rejected' cartridges because they appear to have been flagged as non HP branded. Can I reverse the rejected status or will I have to throw them away? This business practice by HP must be an infringement of a consumer's right to choose his ink supplier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *