Are manufacturers cheating you out of printer ink?
Does your printer ink run out too quickly? Can you ignore ‘low ink’ messages? Believe it or not, your printer may be fooling you into changing your cartridge before it’s even empty.
If you think your printer cartridges run out far too early, you may have a point.
A recent class action in the US involving claims against HP has now been settled. To cut a long story short, I’ll summarise it as ‘consumers being diddled out of getting the most from the ink they’ve paid for’.
Printer manufacturers have got some of us right where they want us – third party inks aren’t an option for every printer, so we often don’t have a choice about what to buy.
We’re used to our printers throwing up messages about low ink levels, but how many of us know all that goes on in the ‘mind’ of a cartridge’s microchip? When it ‘talks’ to our printer is it merely scheming to find the best way to part us from our cash?
Low ink messages, expiry dates and mono prints
In short, the three lawsuits in the HP Inkjet Printer Litigation case claimed that:
- HP’s ‘low on ink’ messages were confusing people into prematurely replacing cartridges
- Certain HP cartridges shut down on undisclosed expiration dates
- Some HP colour printers use colour ink for black and white prints without disclosing the fact or providing the option to disable it
We know from our tests that printers from a range of manufacturers use colour for black and white prints. And we’re used to overriding ‘low ink’ messages to get as much out of a cartridge as possible when we’re testing too. But unless printer manufacturers advise consumers, how are people to know how often they can override a low ink warning?
How will this case help consumers?
This recent US class action may look like a chink of light, but before we get excited, consider that HP denied all of the claims in the action and the court didn’t rule in favour of either party.
As part of the proposed settlement HP is contributing $5,000,000 of e-credits to class members. This basically means that anyone who bought an affected model in the US can claim up to $6 each. Yes, that’s right, six whole dollars.
HP is making a few changes – namely agreeing to discontinue using certain pop-up ink messages and graphics and making certain disclosures on its website and packaging.
This may sound like progress, but it’s just words, not actual change. After all, if your printer’s telling you to change your cartridge too early and using colour where black and white will do, what else could it be doing to drain your supplies and your wallet?
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