HP inks compensation agreement over printer cartridge lock-in

HP Inc. subsidiarity HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd will compensate customers who bought printers equipped with a feature designed to prevent the use of third-party manufactured ink cartridges.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed people who purchased 10 models of HP printers would be eligible for compensation, after HP agreed to a court-enforceable undertaking.

“HP PPS failed to disclose to consumers in Australia that some of the Relevant Printers were enabled with the DSF ['Dynamic Security Feature'] and that the DSF was intended to prevent the Relevant Printers from printing with non-HP ink cartridges, when HP PPS knew that some customers were using, and wanted to use, non-HP ink cartridges,” the undertaking states.

“HP PPS also misrepresented to customers the cause of the failure of the Relevant Printers to print when using non-HP ink cartridges, via an error message displayed on the Relevant Printers, as well as to some affected customers who contacted HP PPS and reported that error message.”

Some 220,000 printers with HP’s ‘Dynamic Security Feature’ were sold in Australia, either when purchased or through a subsequent firmware update.

HP will offer compensation of $50 to affected customers. More than 2000 people are expected to eligible for compensation, the ACCC said.

HP has set up a web page outlining the compensation program.

The company will also release a firmware update to disable DSF.

“Consumers were not made aware of the restriction on using non-HP ink cartridges when buying the printer or downloading the firmware update, and were denied the choice to accept or reject it,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said in a statement.

“The ACCC was also very concerned that HP used technology to change these printers’ functionality after purchase, without alerting consumers to the restriction on the use of non-HP ink cartridges which was being installed.”

“We are pleased that HP Australia has reached a settlement with the ACCC,” HP said in a statement.

“HP uses dynamic security in select printers (a) to protect the quality of the consumer experience from potential functionality risks that can be introduced using cartridges with cloned chips or modified or non-HP circuitry, (b) toprotect HP’s intellectual property, and (c) to reduce counterfeiting of HP supplies and warranty fraud. HP Australia will continue using dynamic security in select printers in accordance with its settlement with the ACCC.”

The affected printer models are:

· HP OfficeJet Pro 6230;

· HP OfficeJet 6820;

· HP OfficeJet Pro 6830;

· HP OfficeJet Pro 8610;

· HP OfficeJet Pro 8620;

· HP OfficeJet Pro 8630;

· HP OfficeJet Pro X551dw;

· HP OfficeJet Pro X476dw MFP;

· HP OfficeJet Pro X576dw MFP; and HP OfficeJet Pro X451dw.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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