/ Technology

Has a printer update rendered your cartridges redundant?

Printer software update

You fire up your PC, turn on your printer and send a file to print and then… ‘cartridge not recognised’. The printer won’t print. So what’s changed since yesterday? You may be the latest victim of a printer update.

Third-party ink cartridges are generally a fraction of the price of printer-branded inks, but we’ve heard reports of printer updates rendering these cartridges unusable.

We asked Which? members to share their printing problems and a number of them sounded like they related to software updates. However, with some printers set to automatically update, it can be hard to pin a specific problem to a specific update. Ian C told us:

‘I bought compatible inks. After a few weeks they suddenly stopped working, with a message saying they were incompatible. Replaced them with new ones but had the same problem.’

Tony G had a similar experience:

‘Lo and behold, my printer has started rejecting – that is, not printing when I use third-party cartridges – but when I then replace them with printer-branded ones it seems to work fine.’

We tried updating the firmware on three second-hand printers in our lab and the printers worked just as well with third-party ink before updating as they did afterwards. So updates won’t always stop your cartridges from being recognised.

HP printers rejecting ink cartridges

However, there have been some very recent victims. Just last week we heard a number of reports from members whose HP printers have stopped working with the third-party inks.

Mr White’s printer ink cartridges have been affected by the latest update:

‘I own an HP 3055A printer which uses the popular 301 cartridge, today I changed the cartridges and find that the printer will no longer print as it detects that a non-HP cartridge has been installed. A printer update was reported as being available from HP when I turned the printer on – on the 7 March – and I updated prior to installing the new cartridges. After installing the new cartridge the information screen on the printer showed the message “incompatible cartridge detected”.’

Rob Stone has also suffered at the hands of a recent update to his HP Officejet 6600 and said:

‘I’ve been using third-party inks with no issues for several months. It was when I accidentally ran an HP update from my PC that the problem occurred. The error message said “There is a problem with the printer ink or system. Turn printer off, then on. If problem persists, contact HP”. It prevents me from moving to any other menu on the printer.’

Your right to use third-party printer inks

As iPhone 6 users suffering at the hands of the ‘Error 53’ message know only too well, update issues aren’t only a problem for printers. But, fortunately for affected phone users, Apple released a fix.

It may not be quite so simple to roll back a printer update. We’ve previously spoken to printer manufacturers about software updates, with Brother, Canon and Epson telling us that reverting to a previous firmware version wasn’t usually possible at all. HP stood out from the crowd by saying that you could roll ball its updates, but it’s not an obvious or simple process.

In light of this latest glut of update issues, we’ve approached HP to find out what’s causing the problem and whether it’ll be possible for those affected to get their printers working with their inks again.

You absolutely should be able to choose to use third-party ink in your printer. The big consumer printer brands have all signed up to a voluntary agreement which includes a provision around not preventing third-party ink from being used in their printers.

If you’ve suffered a ‘printerruption’ as result of a printer software update – or which you suspect is as a result of a recent update – we want to hear about it.

Shelly Cribbin says:
28 May 2020

Ink Cartridge not recognised Epson! they were working fine until I got a message to update! b******s.

Tee A says:
11 June 2020

i have used Tesco ink in my HP 3050 for some time now, but last wk I put in a fresh new cartiridge and it wont accept it.

Hi Tee – It’s always possible that the Tesco cartridge was faulty or the ‘chip’ is not in place. Unless the problem happened when you did a firmware update I suggest you ask Tesco if they will replace it.

Daniel Tan says:
28 June 2020

it should be made illegal!!

James says:
29 June 2020

Canon are now creating problems with their Pixma series printers. If you are using non OEM ink cartridges, or even originals but refilled, you may get a message from Canon stating your ink cartridge is not a genuine cartridge, and you’ll have to go thru the process of turning off the ‘ink low’ warning for that cartridge(or all of them if it ID’s all). On my TS8052 PIXMA it identified a non original Black cartridge – but in fact they were all refilled originals. I went thru the process wherein I end up with a white blank box for that cartridge so have to check as and when I think it may be low. But worse to come, now I had the warning from Canon again, suggesting I report counterfeit cartridge suppliers to them, . . . . and now my printer will only print in Black . . . . ironic, since that’s the one they didn’t like. So now I can’t print in colour, am trying to find ways around it, but proving difficult if not impossible!
Will never buy Canon or HP(they’re doing the same tricks) again!

Hi James – The problem you have described existed long before manufacturers’ software updates first blocked use non-original cartridges. I presume that the ‘chip’ on the cartridge tells the printer how much ink remains, and this information can usually be seen both on the printer and the computer it is linked to, either wirelessly or by cable. Obviously the system does not detect when cartridges are refilled.

It’s so unfair on consumers.

I have only used original Canon cartridges in my MG5750. Both PC and printer tell me when ink levels are low, and then when “ink has tun out”. There still is ink left and I can print quite happily by overriding the ink out message. Printing can go on for a long time thus, but you need to watch the output for when the ink is actually used up. No harm seems to come to the printer.

My printers do the same and I assume it is there to warn you to have another cartridge to hand before doing a long print run, or to buy one if you are an occasional user.

I’ve been using the Tesco own brand hp364 cartridge for years probably now and never had a problem. I bought a new the other day and now it’s saying that it’s a protected ink cartridge! I’m so annoyed. I’ve googled it and followed the steps I’ve found but it’s still saying no. Going to have to take it back tomorrow and get a new one. Now I’ve disabled the protection function hopefully a new one will work

Hope it is just that cartridge – HP has disabled any compatible cartridge for me

Julie arnold says:
24 July 2020

This has happened to me . I used tesco compatible hp364 for years too but won’t work now and I’ve replaced them with new Tesco ones and the same ! Wasted so much money . Do the hp ones work or will I waste more money trying . So annoying

HP officejet Pro 6830 Started throwing error messages left right and centre. Paper jam no paper jam anywhere to be seen, Carriage jam as the carriage whizzes back and forth. HP video suggested remove and refit ink cartridges I did now a ink cartridge error message as well. aaaah! I believe it is all down to software and there is nothing wrong with the printer. And yes I do use generic ink cartridge.

I have not had much problem with inkjet printers but with laser printers, the tiniest piece of paper could be responsible for a ‘paper jam’ and sometimes these could be very difficult to clear.

In the days when print cartridges incorporated a print head they could be removed and replaced easily. Nowadays, most cartridges are just ink tanks and they have to be primed if removed and replaced. That wastes ink and may cause problems, in my experience. The problem with firmware updates blocking use of third party cartridges is well understood but I doubt that your problem is caused by software. I suggest having another go at removing and refitting the cartridges.

According to the July issue of Which? magazine, the August issue will be looking at a new problem:

“We reveal why third-party inks trump most original-brand cartridges, plus we explore the controversy around HP’s dynamic security feature that’s blocking compatible inks”

Stephanie says:
7 July 2020

My HP 4524 has stopped taking Tesco own brand cartridges. I’m a private tutor and this is an affordable way for me to print resources for my pupils. Shame on HP.

Did this happen after a printer update, Stephanie? If not you might just have a problem with the new cartridges, in which case it would be worth contacting Tesco.

Bon says:
7 July 2020

Epson XP 440
Wasn’t aware of bricking until I accepted Epson’s update and was no longer able to print with my third-party ink. I contacted Epson and they’re only reply was they recommend I use THEIR ink. I am furious. This is illegal! What agency do I report this to?

Hi Bon – I suggest that you contact the Competition and Markets Authority and would be grateful if you can tell us whether this is helpful: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tell-the-cma-about-a-competition-or-market-problem

Canon Image class MF642cdw – purchased 3rd party printer ink, now it notes “a non-Canon counterfeit cartridge may be installed”. It also indicates “cannot use print function”. This basically leaves me without a printer. I have to question why we are being held “hostage” to this type of lack of use? Frustrated w/ Canon….

Thanks for this, Claude. This is the first time I can recall a message about a ‘counterfeit’ cartridge, which suggests a deliberate action to block the use of third party cartridges. I suggest contacting the CMA, using the link I have provided above.

Perhaps when Which? test printers they should check whether they work with the popular 3rd party cartridges as well as OEM’s and include that in the features? Or, as with some other products, add a yellow warning. I was going to suggest a “don’t buy” but I’d rather just be given the information and make up my own mind. I don’t do much printing theses days and am more than happy with my Canon printer and the results, particularly photos, with the little OEM ink I need to buy.

I would rather pay the real cost of the printer then reasonably priced OEM ink in. Have printer companies tried it? I would print a lot more if ink wasn’t so ridiculously expensive.

I would also like to see it mandatory that inks state their contents in m(iniscu)l(e)s. Sheets printed is meaningless and will depend entirely on the type of printing you do. My old HP ink stated large size, but that was probably half the size of the original large size some years later.

Testing should also include how often printers go through ‘cleaning the printheads.’ I’m pretty sure that is another ruse to make us get through more ink.

I agree with you Alfa. Ink tank printers show what is more likely the real hardware cost. My excellent Canon printer was £59.99 and not the cheapest around. A full set of inks costs around the same. I don’t do enough printing for that to be a financial issue. However, I have the option of a cheap printer then 3rd part cartridges (providing they are not blocked). Best of both worlds, but a bit silly.

I, too, agree Alfa. When my current vintage printers fail I shall be looking at Ink tanks as a sensible replacement. Fortunately my aged HP printer is too old to be updated by HP and I am left alone. Like Malcolm I don’t print enough to warrant buying another one just yet, but each black cartridge is £50 and is unavailable as a third party. That does include a print head though.

Alfa – The Which? tests compare the amount of ink used in continuous and occasional printing, which provides the best indication of the amount of ink ‘wasted’ in cleaning print heads. The amount of ink in cartridges is stated by the manufacturer and third party supplier (at least the ones I have used have given this information). Turning a printer off after use will usually mean that it goes through a cleaning cycle after it is switched on again, even if this is not necessary. We often have brief power cuts and I can hear my printer going through a cleaning cycle. 🙁

Ink tank printers are a worthwhile option for those who use printers frequently but many of us would like to pay a non-subsidised price for a smaller printer.

The August issue of Which? magazine has an article about the high price of third party printer ink and cheaper alternatives, but warns that owners of HP printers could find that use of third party cartridges can be blocked by the manufacturer.

From the article: “We think using third-party cartridges or not should be your choice, not HP’s. A lawsuit in the US resulted in customers being reimbursed for the cost of replacement cartridges, printers and repairs. Under the out-of-court settlement HP agreed that Dynamic Security wouldn’t be reactivated in the affected inkjet printers. HP denies that it did anything wrong.”

HP might not think it has done anything wrong but it has apologised for its behaviour in the past: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37503139 It was also one of the major manufacturers involved in a voluntary agreement to block third party cartridges, as discussed in another Convo.

I have suggested that Which? should take up the anticompetitive behaviour of printer manufacturers with the Competition and Markets Authority, but I don’t know if this has been done.

PLEASE could we have some input to this Conversation from a member of Which? staff.

I think you meant the high price of OEM printer inks cartridges? Still time to edit 🙂 .

This complaint could be resolved if the manufacturers were unable to block printers from accepting 3rd party cartridges. When I buy a product I should be able to do what I want with it, but at my risk. If I buy an ink cartridge that damages the printer then I take responsibility and take it up with the supplier.

There are a large number of 3rd party ink suppliers so I imagine many (most?) people, paricularly those who print a lot, use them? I presume the vast majority do this successfully. So I wonder just how big this problem really is? Have Which? surveyed to find which printer models are consistently affected and why?

As it is still July I have not yet received my August Which? I wonder why the mags cannot all be sent out at the same time.

I endorse your comment, Wavechange.

It appears that, so far as Which? is concerned, this Conversation [containing nearly 700 relevant comments] hasn’t happened. There have been several attempts by contributors to get Which? to explain or review aspects of the problem but there has not been a single comment from a Which? writer [apart from some brief interventions from George Martin promising to get some further information – which strangely never materialised].

This is very disappointing and demoralising because virtually every household in the country is now a printer ink user – using a computer and producing documents is no longer a niche activity. In fact the rising tendency of all commercial and governmental organisations to produce all their official documents, application forms, instructions, guarantees, confirmations, licences, labels, specifications, and so on means that having an economical printing facility is a household essential.

Which? has been requested to ask the CMA to investigate this rigged market and anti-competitive behaviour but there is no evidence that Which? has made any such move.

The latest Which? report on this problem, to feature in the August 2020 Which? magazine [which has been previewed to subscribers by e-mail], seems to make no reference to any of the points raised by contributors here. Perhaps Hollie Hennessy who wrote it has not even read this Conversation. I thought the comments and diagram showing the comparative unit cost of other liquids to original equipment manufacturers’ printer inks was somewhat facile and a waste of space. It’s about as useful as saying that beer is more expensive than petrol – which it is but I happen to prefer a glass of beer for which some brewers’ versions are cheaper than others. That’s the only thing that matters with inks. Reporting the relative quality tests on third party compatible inks carried out by the laboratory used by Which? was useful but it did not compare them against the quality of the OEM inks in the same machines.

This Conversation has been running for over four years and there does not seem to be much progress – if any – on the real issue.

Thanks John. It was the email you referred to that encouraged me to look at the magazine online, my printed copy not having arrived. It had been advertised that Which? would be covering printer ink in the August issue and I hoped that blocking of third party cartridges would be mentioned.

Which? has compared the quality of third party ink cartridges with originals on various occasions and they have improved vastly since they were introduced. In order to do a useful comparison it is necessary to test inks on various printers. For example, the brand of ink I use produces better results on my older HP printer than the newer one.

I use my printers for document printing and photocopying, and it must be years since I last printed a photo. What interests me and probably many others is reliability and price of cartridges. Although I print far less than I did ten years ago, printing remains important for me.

Years ago, Which? compared the price of printer ink with champagne and now it has introduced other curious comparisons. Comparing the price of third party and OEM ink is really what matters. Other issues such as problems would also be relevant if there is a significant difference.

Thanks to Which? Convo I learned that printer firmware updates can render third party cartridges useless, so I do not update my printers and have had no problems.

I have asked for comment on the anti-competitive behaviour of major printer manufacturers in this and another Convo, but as. you say, there has not been much progress. If I had this problem I would take it to the CMA but from previous experience, it’s difficult to pursue consumer issues when you have not been affected.

I do wish that authors of magazine articles would look at the relevant Convos, but there are one or two examples where previous magazine articles have been ignored.

I agree with you both. Which? have done little to change things, but so has the course of legal challenges. HP have made some American comments of a placatory nature, but say they have done nothing wrong. Unless I have missed something, third party inks are still being targeted by the leading printer manufacturers. Ink tanks go half way to dealing with the issue. One pays a real price for the printer and recoups with savings on printing costs. Their success is directly related to the annoyance of the public with cartridges that don’t work.

Here is an article about ink tank printers: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/05/are-refillable-ink-tank-printers-good-value/ From what can be found on various websites they are not without their problems. Inkjet printers have a tray to collect waste ink and when that is full it may not be possible to empty or replace it and reset the printer.

I do not know if Which? has ever taken up the problem of blocking use of third party cartridges with the CMA.

Thanks for the link. This was written in 2017 so things might? have improved since then. Prices of these printers now seem to be around £175 for the cheapest on shopping channels. My ancient printer doesn’t have a print head and it just seems to go on for ever. As it isn’t broken, I’m reluctant to replace it to save on ink, which isn’t available third party. The issue with third party inks in general is still unresolved and no one seems to have a grip on it. Perhaps Which? is being unfairly targeted for something it can do nothing about, but it could be more thorough in its reporting and its publishing.

I was going to comment on the date of the article, Vynor, but guessed that little has changed other than more ink tank printers being available. What I would like to see happen if for Which? to raise the problem with the CMA, report that it has done so and keep us informed of progress.

Ink tank printers are best suited to heavy users and the system has been used for years in large roll printers. Anyone planning to buy an ink tank printer should look at whether the print heads can be changed and the cost of replacement. Unless this is possible and at a sensible price, these printers might not be good value for money.

Hi all. We believe it’s wrong that HP prevents the use of third-party cartridges in its machines which use Dynamic Security. We believe consumers should be able to use whatever ink they want to in their printers. However, HP’s position regarding the application of Dynamic Security in its printers is as follows:

“Dynamic Security is a process that authenticates supplies to prevent the use of supplies without an Original HP chip or with modified or non-HP circuitry. HP includes Dynamic Security to protect the quality of our customer experience, protect HP’s intellectual property, and reduce counterfeiting of HP supplies and warranty fraud.

Refilled or remanufactured supplies that use an Original HP Chip or have original, unmodified HP circuitry are unaffected by Dynamic Security and will continue to function normally. Other cartridges (e.g., cartridges using cloned chips or modified or non-HP circuitry) may not work today and/or may not work in the future.

Consumers have been notified of this on the hardware packaging and online as a product specification for all Dynamic Security enabled printers manufactured since December 2016”

When making a decision about which printer to buy, understanding the long term running costs of owning a particular printer model should be an important consideration. This would include the cost of printer ink. That’s why we’re here.

We give our advice to consumers so they can make the best decision for them when purchasing a new printer or printer ink. We’ve highlighted the issues with Dynamic Security and how it may cost people much more than they bargained for.

For clarification, our lab testing looks at the print quality of both original and third-party ink. We only recommend those which are closest in quality to original ink in our tests and are also rated highly in our survey for print quality.

We are continuing to actively gather evidence from members about Dynamic Security and the size of the problem. All feedback on the issue is really useful, thank you for sharing your views.

Thank you Hollie. It would be helpful if you could italicise those parts of your comment that are HP’s words.

I deduce from this discussion that there are no cases where a third-party ink performs better than the OEM ink in the same model of printer. Is that really the case?

You have overlooked the question whether Which? has actually asked the CMA to investigate the printer inks market and the anti-competitive behaviour.

Hi Hollie – Thanks for your comment. It is encouraging that Which? is looking at the effect of HP’s Dynamic Security on consumers.

The problem of cartridge blocking is not recent and not just with third cartridges for HP printers. In her introduction to this Convo, Katie Waller mentioned Brother, Canon and Epson printers, and this is not the only Convo that mentions the problem.

As John says, we want to know if Which? has contacted the CMA about this problem.

@hhennessy, thanks Hollie.
The HP problem has been present since 2016, I believe.
Do Which? know what particular HP printers are affected? Do your reviews give this information?
I believe HP cannot block 3rd party cartridges in the US. Does that not apply in the EU? So are they continuing to block cartridges here? If so, why is the EU not taking action?
Just how extensive is deliberate cartridge blocking across all printer makes?

I say Malcolm old chap, haven’t we left the EU? I think from this year forward it will be up to the UK to stand up for its consumers….

If Which? had pushed the CMA, the CMA could have pushed the EU.

At least in future we can make our own competition policy without worrying about the European single market implications.

Hi. We do mention Dynamic Security in our reviews – it’s often listed as a ‘con’. Unfortunately I’m not able to add anything further to my original response at this stage but, as previously mentioned, we are continuing to gather consumer feedback. If things move forward then you will hear about it across Which? in the magazine, our News stories and here on Which? Conversation. Thank you everyone for your input so far.

I do hope you will look at other printer brands too, Hollie. Duncan Lucas provided useful information about avoiding printer firmware updates to prevent cartridge blocking, but unfortunately he recently asked for his posts to be removed.

@derekp, I’ll overlook the “old”………. 🙂
I presume that action would have been taken by the EU, probably while we were a member. Were that the case then we could adopt the same stance.
Hollie doesn’t tell us what has been done in the EU. I would have thought Which? would know.

@hhennessy, Hollie, this issue has been with us and reported on by Which? for 4 years. Do they not know:
– whether the EU has taken or os considering any action to make 3rd party cartridges blocking contrary to consumer law? ( as was done in the US and Australia, I believe)
– which printer models are affected by blocking?
– is blocking widespread and extensive or on a relatively small scale? What % of consumers are affected?
I would have thought Which? would have sourced this information with input from their Members and the 3rd part suppliers for example.

I was not looking necessarily to predict but to see which printers had been affected. I was looking to get a handle on the extent of the problem. Which? Connect could ( maybe they have) find out from their 30 000 members printers that have been affected.

You may detect I was a little frustrated that, yet again, Which? do not give a straightforward response to what seem to be straightforward questions. I have lost count of the times this has been the case.

It would be difficult for most users to know for sure whether a problem was caused by software issues, faulty cartridges or other problems.

It is well established that all the main manufacturers have been engaging in anti-competitive behaviour and there have been US class actions against the companies involved. What I expect Which? to do is to report the problem to the CMA and keep us informed of progress.

Users would not necessarily need to know the cause, just that they had a problem after installing a (reputable) 3rd party cartridge. The cartridge suppliers should also have useful information on problems and know why. They have to redesign their chips to deal with manufacturers “updates” apparently.

I would like to know the extent of the problem, as, I expect, would the CMA if it is to take action. However I would also expect the EU regulators to have had an interest in this if it is more than just a trivial problem.

Is I said above, after 4 years I would expect Which? to have gathered relevant information.

I did ask, in effect whether the ruling against HP in the US (and one in Australia) has led to them stopping updates that block 3rd party cartridges altogether, or whether they continue the practice in the rest of the world.

Here is a post from an 80 year old who had a problem, did some investigation and contacted the CMA: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1443998

The problem is well established and has been for years.

It is a 4 year old comment. I’d hope Which? have, by now, accumulated sufficient information to determine the extent of the problem, the principal offender(s) and have put a case together to the CMA and/or the EU regulators. Perhaps they would tell us? It would save a lot of speculation.

I’d be interested to know just how widespread this problem now is. Third party ink cartridge manufacturers might be a good source of information. Following messages incorrectly might be a factor? https://support.bchtechnologies.com/hc/en-us/articles/200676949-HP-Printer-Error-Used-or-Counterfeit-Cartridge-Detected-Ink-Sensor-Warning-What-to-do-

Thanks Malcolm. There is a lot about printer problems online.

Some of the problems that users have reported here are probably nothing to do with cartridge blocking but when they happen following a firmware update then it’s too much of a coincidence to be anything else. It’s unethical and must be stopped.

Hi each time I try to use my printer it comes up with not connecting to the Internet or WiFi even though it is a WiFi network device and should be connected all the time.
Plus it is now stopping the black ink from working even though its brand new.
I feel like just throwing it through the window.

Hi Derek – This looks like a connection problem rather than a printer problem. Please can you give us more details in the Tech Talk Conversation: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/which-computing-editor-tech-talk/#comment-1574399

Has Which done a comparison and cost effectiveness of the HP Instantink Plan eg £1.99 for 50 printed pages, £3.49 for 100 printed pages (plus £1.00 for each additional set of 15 pages)

Hi Cyrus, I would also be interested to see what Which? thought of those prices.

Before the pandemic, I used to work as an IT volunteer at my local library. We had several laser printers there for the use of library customers. Our page charges were 10p per page for B&W A4 and 80p per page for colour A4.

Which? has looked at HP Instant Ink: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/printers-and-ink/article/which-printer-should-you-buy/hp-instant-ink-vs-other-types-of-printer-ink

It could work out worthwhile if you do a fair amount of printing using original cartridges but if you want to save money then compatible cartridges are the way to go. I have encouraged friends to try third party cartridges and they have been happy with them.

I wonder if Which? talk to them? They might offer some useful material to inform this Convo.

I have an HP Officejet 5741 – the black ink ran out and won’t work to print color only unless it has black. So I purchased third party ink (black and color) and it worked for a few prints then came up with the error stating ‘Remove and Reinstall’ – I have and it still won’t accept. So then I reinstalled the old ink cartridges (empty black too) and it is stating ‘cartridge cannot be used until printer is enrolled in HP Instant Ink!

I have an HP Officejet 5741 – the black ink ran out and won’t work to print color only unless it has black. So I purchased third party ink (black and color) and it worked for a few prints then came up with the error stating ‘Remove and Reinstall’ – I have and it still won’t accept. So then I reinstalled the old ink cartridges (empty black too) and it is stating ‘cartridge cannot be used until printer is enrolled in HP Instant Ink!

Sara Jones says:
3 August 2020

EPSOM XP-322 is no longer recognising my (much cheaper) 3rd party ink cartridges that I’ve been using for the last 18 months absolutely fine. The “Ink cartridges not recognised” message appeared after an update approximately 4 weeks before the summer holidays and left me and my 2 teenagers unable to complete work and schoolwork. Thanks a lot, ESPOM.

3 August 2020

Firmware update for my Epson WF270 just rendered my third party ink cartridges, “not recognized.”

Ive just downloaded a patch to my Epson 1400 called epson1911.dmg and now the printer shows incorrect cartridges on them all changed them to another set still the same

The refill cartridges I had used for a year or so actually completely bricked my 3S20 out of the blue last year and I have had to do without a printer since then which was why I was trying to buy new cartridges for my SX43SW.
But no go. I think Epson has progressed from just bricking any non-brand cartridge for a more tricky response of altering some small technical points so as to make such cartridges inoperable.

Hi Justin – Perhaps you and others with a problem could contact the CMA about this anticompetitive behaviour:

General enquiries
Competition and Markets Authority
The Cabot
25 Cabot Square
E14 4QZ
United Kingdom
General enquiries
020 3738 6000