HP toner: Purchase from distributor only after B2B registration?

Stop - Pixabay[German]Strange development in the area of printer consumables at the manufacturer HP. The fact that ink cartridges from third-party suppliers are blocked by firmware updates is nothing new. I have also discussed ink subscriptions for HP devices here on the blog. The latest twist, which was reported to me by a reader, is that registration with HP is now required to purchase HP toner from a distributor. So to speak authorized buyer, without this label there you can't buy HP toner.


B2B registration required by HP

German blog reader Nico recently informed me of a new development for toner purchases from (his) distributor. A few days ago, the reader wanted to buy HP toner for his company from one of the major distributors for HP devices. Usually, you go to the supplier's page, search for the right toner offers and order the right product in the desired quantity.

However, the reader then experienced an unbelievable surprise. The customer was denied the purchase attempt in the distributor's online store with the message "Authorization missing". So the customer called the distributor's support team and was told that he needed to register with HP on this website to purchase this HP toner.#

Authorized HP partners

I have documented the English version of the HP page in the screenshot above. The astonished reader learns that HP "maintains a selective distribution network for the distribution and resale of HP products and services in the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (the "Contract Territory").

HP thus forces its distributors into line, writing: "As a result, all HP Authorized Partners must meet certain technical or professional standards ("Selective Distribution Criteria") to ensure that HP products and services are properly marketed and an optional customer experience is provided ("HP Authorized Partners")."


HP declares that in this selective distribution network, partners are authorized to buy from and resell to other "Authorized Partners" and to sell to end customers. Specifically, HP Authorized Partners are required to buy from or sell to other listed HP Authorized Partners in the territory only with respect to HP-branded ink and toner cartridges and printing hardware.

This means HP has sought a way to bring distributors of HP ink and toner into line. To obtain the status in question, distributors must join the program and can then only sell HP materials. The distributor in question has implemented it in such a way that customers must also register with HP as B2B customers in order to be able to order HP consumables and devices.

Classic lock-in. Or is there something else behind it that I haven't figured out yet? The blog reader wrote to tell me that he had now decided to buy a compatible toner. Has anyone already encountered this kind of business practice?

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