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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.

Comments

I have an EPSON XP-4100 and I was tired of spending too much for their brand name ink, especially since the color inks were being used up even for black ink printing. After making sure it was compatible, I bought G&G third party ink for use with my XP-4100. It worked until a firmware update message came up on my printer. Once I completed the update the ink cartridges would not work anymore. It’s my understanding that it’s illegal for companies to stop the use of third party inks, but the tricky software updates make it harder to blame the companies.

Hi Scott – 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
London
E14 4QZ
United Kingdom
Email
general.enquiries@cma.gov.uk
General enquiries
020 3738 6000

steve lavin says:
31 October 2020

I filed my complaint….Dear Sirs

I have recently purchased this printer new.

I was not aware that HP have put in software as an upgrade that blocks the use of compatible ink cartridges.

I would prefer to use other cartridges by other third-party companies for my printer which are far competitive on price.

I’m writing to you to complain that I think the practice of HP in preventing this occurring is contrary to competitive rules.

Anyone who buys a printer should have an absolute rigth to choose where to buy ink cartridges.

Had I known this was going to occur I would not have purchased the machine from HP.

The purpose of this is an email it’s officially complain in order that you can enquire with HP whether or not they are breaking competitive rules and should stop this outrageous practice. Thank you.

steve lavin says:
31 October 2020

Printer HP 8725

Thanks for taking action and letting us know, Steve. Which? is looking at HP printers at present: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1603573 Unfortunately we don’t know what if any action has been taken on our behalf.

If only it was as simple as switching to another brand.

Edit: I have just looked at the HP 8725 on the Which? website, which shows that it is an expensive printer, costing over £400. One of the drawbacks reported is that it is slightly wasteful of ink, so it makes sense to buy cheaper third party ink. It’s disgraceful that governments allow businesses to behave in this way.

Same thing happened to me today with a HP Printer – software upgrade this morning and it immediately stops working – no warning that the upgrade would do that, and has left me unable to work – they are totally taking advantage of more people working from home due to Covid-19 – its disgraceful.

MARK C WILLIAMS says:
11 November 2020

Had the same thing happen for my LaserJet MPF M281fdw. Was able to downgrade the firmware to 20200612. All works now… Followed article https://markohoven.com/2020/11/10/hp-laserjet-pro-m280-m281-printer-series-20200612-firmware-downgrade/ Which work great… HP should defiantly be ashamed.

Which? have been commenting on this, and conversations have included it, for a number of years. I would have expected Which? to have, by now, put a dossier together and made a complaint on behalf of consumers to the CMA if it is an issue of sufficient size or importance?

Maybe Which? would tell us the extent of cartridge blocking. The 3rd party industry would seem to be a good place to get information; I imagine consumers who are affected would complain to their cartridge supplier in the first instance.

In feedback, Which? magazine September 2020, a reader questions light-fastness of ink jet inks and points out fading that affected prints made with third party inks. In reply Which? say they don’t test light-fastness because “it’s quite a niche issue…”.

Indeed it might be, but a vital characteristic I would suggest. I am astonished that Which? should dismiss this so off-handedly. The durability of prints is essential in many cases, not only in preserving the colours in photographs and coloured presentations but simply in maintaining the proper readability of documents that we rely on for permanence. Therefore inks should be tested for permanence or otherwise if results are to be really useful.

One reason I have stuck with OEM ink – Canon – has been my experience so far, over many years, of good colour-fastness. I do not know whether there are EN Standards covering this but there is certainly an ASTM F 2366-12 that tests ink jet prints for daylight exposure.

Recommending any inks without evaluating relative light-fastness seems extremely unhelpful. Perhaps Which? should look at the ASTM and start applying the test. In the meantime it could make clear in any results that this essential attribute is not tested.

If you use a home inkjet printer for making photographs that will be displayed on walls and mantelpieces in frames and such like, then colour fastness is very important.

As with paints, fading of printed photos and text is largely due to UV. The easiest way to minimise fading is to mount photos behind glass in a frame and to try to avoid placing them in sun or bright light. Pigment-based inks are reputed to be better than the more common dye-based inks. It’s not just the ink that is important but the combination of ink and paper.

One of the advantages of digital photography is that providing that you have kept the image file it is easy to reprint a faded photo.

I have photos on display printed many years ago using Canon ink (on Tesco Finest paper and Canon) that still look good. I wouldn’t want to have to keep reprinting them because of poorer quality ink, so we should know which inks perform well.

The ASTM test uses a UV source to give accelerated testing, as I understand it.

I have photos printed on my older HP printer using compatible ink and Kodak glossy paper. I know that two are about ten years old and don’t seem to have faded. About 15 years ago I found that Epson coated paper worked very well with different printers but the prints faded quickly.

After an automatic update to Epson XP-760 expression photo printer it refused to work with all 6 of the previously functioning non-OEM cartridges.

David Wilson says:
16 September 2020

HP photosmart 5520 showing message Replace Cartridges. Very annoying stance from HP but not to worry I will not be buying any more computer equipment from Hewlett Packard.

Just had my home Epson inkjet turned into a useless chunk of plastic following a firmware update which I unwittingly installed, resulting in any non-epson ink being rejected. I was paying under £25 for a full set of 3rd party cartridges which always worked perfectly. The cheapest genuine Epson cartridge set i can find is….. £78.00!!! There’s no way….
I’ve done a lot of research and the only fix is to downgrade the printer firmware – but this only works if you can find an old version of the firmware for you printer, which in the case of my epson proved impossible. (I’m looking at changing to a laser, and putting a perfectly good inkjet on the scrap heap). Not happy – disgusting (and unlawful) behaviour on the part of Epson, and any other inkjet heavyweights who ‘sabotage’ the product in a effort to force consumers to buy their ink.
For anyone who is interested in trying to downgrade a firmware update, there’s some good guides available online, but first thing is to see if old firmware is available for make and model of the printer you have. Seems readily available for some brands, but Epson seem to do a pretty good job of making it hard to find – you certainly cant get it from Epson themselves. That’s one brand I’m avoiding on principal from now on.

I have a Epson x2105 and used third party ink it worked fine until yes you guessed it a software update put a stop to the third party ink I was forced to go and buy Full price Epson ink,this is illegal and should not be allowed

You have a printer that was working with third party ink cartridges until the update and then it worked again when you installed Epson cartridges, providing good evidence that the problem was caused by the update. Please will you complain to CMA and let us know what they have to say. I posted their contact details earlier: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1605111

@jon-stricklin-coutinho, Jon, does Which ? have any idea about the scale of this problem and the degree to which each of the printer manufacturers might be preventing the use of 3rd party inks? Have they discussed this with the 3rd part ink industry who could no doubt provide information? If it is a significant problem, how is Which? intending to tackle it?

I have an Epson Workforce WF-2850DWF printer which was working perfectly until I received and installed an Epson update.
From then on regardless of what I did when printing I only got smudges on the paper.
I spoke to the supplier of the compatible ink (Stinky Inks) and they supplied replacement cartridges and assured me that they would work. But they did not.
In the end I had to buy Epson ink and suddenly the printer was perfect again.
It is obvious that Epson sell their printers at reduced prices and make their profit selling their precious ink.
I used to only buy Canon printers and never had any problems with compatible ink.
It will be cheaper for me to throw out the Epson and buy a canon having looked at the price of compatible ink for Canon printers.

I also have a tale to tell and an open ending, since I have yet to decide what to do. I bought an HP printer so that, away from home, I could print documents and invoices as they arrived. First of all HP wanted me to invest in their instant ink service, and I told the printer set up to block this. The deal is probably quite good, but I am unsure how many prints I would make in a month, even when rolling over the spares for the next month. (Delivery to the marina might also be awkward.) Anyway, the printer took umbrage at this and refused to accept the starter cartridges provided with the printer. “Do not use starter cartridges,” I bought an ordinary colour cartridge and an XL black one from Currys. At the time I was too busy to drag the printer about and make a fuss. The printer sprang to life and produced excellent text when asked. The next thing I did, was to reproduce, on plain paper, the photographs I had taken of bathrooms and kitchen layouts so that I could discuss these with the builders. I made 17 A4 normal colour prints and was told that the colour cartridge was very low. These cost me a pound for every print. There were lines on the paper, so the prints were not perfect.
I suspect that the print heads need aligning to avoid this happening again, but the claimed 160 6×4 colour prints does not equate to 17 A4 prints on plain paper. Not in my book anyway. There the tale ends for now. I need to print out e-mail documents, invoices and receipts for my records, so the printer is more use to me here than at Currys “Know How” shed being looked at. The 303 cartridges are in short supply, and I suspect they are being phased out. In fact Currys seems to have empty shelves where many cartridges were previously displayed. I wonder if the virus is affecting production or supply? With the open WiFi here I don’t buy anything on line, so shop prices are a grin and bear must.
I know I need to complain, but it is too much hassle at present. Nevertheless, I can let off steam here and hope HP reads my comments.

It’s common for manufacturers to provide small cartridges with printers and in your case a black HP cartridge contains only 4 ml ink whereas an XL cartridge contains three times as much. The tri-colour one does fewer prints, so using an XL cartridge is even more important when printing colour photos. The cartridges supplied by the manufacturer may be small but something is wrong if the supplied cartridges were rejected. On this Convo we are accustomed to printers refusing third party cartridges, Vynor!

Print cartridges were and probably still are rated at 5% coverage, so printing colour prints drinks a lot of ink and even if you are not using best quality. It is very different from printing pages with some colour. It does not look as if compatible cartridges are available yet, so you may be stuck with expensive originals. To minimise ink use in cleaning the print heads it’s worth leaving the printer on standby.

I have not used HP Instant Ink but Which? and others have suggested it may be useful if you are regularly printing photos and can avoid printing pages with little or nothing on them because these count towards your monthly allowance.

Chandler says:
10 October 2020

Yes. Unfortunately, as of 10/10/2020 my Epson xp-7100 is no longer operable due to the device not recognizing or accepting my cost-effective third-party ink cartridges. What can I do to resolve this issue?

If the problem occurred as a result of a printer update I suggest you contact Epson and alsocomplain to CMA and let us know what they have to say. I posted their contact details earlier: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1605111

If there was no update it would be worth contacting the seller of the problem cartridges.

https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1607805
This request to Which? to ask what they were doing about 3rd party cartridge problems has not been responded to. We need more than individuals trying to take action.

Individuals might not achieve much against large businesses intent on acting against the interests of consumers but collectively we could. Perhaps we should look to the US and Australia where class action has been taken against printer manufacturers: https://www.therecycler.com/posts/hp-printer-owners-can-claim-compensation/

Class action is not very British but perhaps we can change that.

Surely this is why we have a Consumers’ Association – Which? – representing 660 000 members let alone consumers in general? Funded by £100 million through subscriptions. Is it not its job to pursue matters like this? Its mission statement says it exists to make consumers as powerful as the organisations they deal with, or something like that.

Maybe we will see some action, Malcolm: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1603573 We have waited a long time.

Is there any reason why consumers should not take action themselves?

What advice would you give Chandler, whose Epson printer has stopped working?

It has been going on for several years. How long does ot take for action to happen? Or maybe it is not found to be a bigenough problem by Which?.

I’ve suggested another way of gathering more information. https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1603609

What action could we take individually? We would have to be sure that the cause of a cartridge failure was down to a deliberate action by the printer manufacturer. For most people that would be difficult. We should,instead, ask the association set up to protect consumers to investigate.

What should Chandler do? Report his problem to the 3rd party cartridge supplier for a refund and their comments. Try cartridges from a different supplier – Which? recommend a number. Wait for Which? to provide advice.

In the Conversations about third party ink cartridges we have been given examples of printers that have rejected working third party cartridges immediately after a firmware update, which removes the uncertainty about whether a new cartridge is faulty. It would be easy for Which? to obtain examples and send them for examination to prove the point. I believe it would be better just to put this in the hands of CMA and push them to take action and keep us informed of progress.

Some of us have asked and repeatedly encouraged Which? to take action over numerous issues that have been raised on Convo and the magazine, but little seems to have been done. Which? prioritises the consumer issues it wants to pursue, as it always has done. We cannot force Which? to pursue the issues we would like, Malcolm. Maybe the answer is to encourage those who have a problem to seek a refund from the seller of third party cartridges, as we have both suggested in Chandler’s case. This might encourage these companies to complain to the CMA or organise a class action against the printer manufacturers.

We cannot force Which? to pursue the issues we would like, Malcolm.” As Which? is an organisation funded almost entirely by its Members I believe those Members should have a voice in the issues Which? should look at and pursue. Its stated aim is to make consumers as powerful as the organisations they have to deal with. I’m not sure what successes it can point to that demonstrates that.

I do too. I have pointed out that there is no advertised route for how we can suggest which products are reviewed, something that could potentially interest every subscriber. You and I are keen that Which? pushes for Trading Standards to be restored as an effective organisation but other subscribers might have other priorities.

I would say that over the years Which? has helped me to be understand my rights as a consumer and give me the confidence to cope with anyone who tries to deny me my rights. If I had a problem with a printer manufacturer preventing me from using third party cartridges in my printers I would contact CMA as I have suggested to others.

I had to update the driver for my EPSONSX445W after the Windows 10 upgrade made the Scanner inoperable. EPSON issued an upgraded driver to work with the new version of Windows 10 and everything worked fine – including the third party cartridge already installed. The Cyan Cartridge was flashing low ink, and continued printing until it ran out. No problem, inserted an identical third party replacement Cartridge and got the message “Cannot recognize cartridge(s). Try installing them again. Cyan T1282/T1292″… The third party black Cartridge 1291 is still recognized. There are several supposed work-arounds to enable the OLD driver to be installed, but EPSOM have deleted it. So much for ‘Save the Environment’ Recycling Centers are going to be full of almost new EPSON printers.
I won’t buy a replacement EPSON Printer – nor will I buy their exorbitantly priced ink cartridges.

Its about time Which got hold of this Epson problem. Especially as so many of their models are best buys.

We have an Epson XP830 Expression Premium. We recently bought a new PC and on installing it the printer drivers were updated. We had been using compatible cartridges from Refresh with no problems at all. However, on trying to put in a new cartridge we are getting the message ‘Cannot recognise the following ink cartridge’. We tried a second with the same result. Refresh replaced the first which I have just put in. It printed one page and then the message came up again. Very frustrating.

Alan Karpe says:
29 October 2020

I have an Epson
WF-3720. Everything was great. My wife got a software update notice because of bug fixes etc…
After the update, the printer rejects 3rd party ink.

How can I join a class action law suit?

If you are in the UK I think you are out of luck, Alan. A recent US class action against Epson was dismissed: https://www.classaction.org/blog/class-action-claims-epson-software-updates-effectively-ruined-printers-using-third-party-ink-cartridges An earlier class action over a different issue was successful: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/18035510

Perhaps you could contact the Competition and Markets Authority and ask them to look into this anticompetitive behaviour, which is not restricted to Epson printers. I posted a link earlier: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1605111 As you can see from this and other pages of this Conversation, Epson is annoying many owners of its printers.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 enabled UK courts to hear US-style class actions – where one or several people sue on behalf of a much larger group. This should make it far easier for groups of consumers to seek compensation from firms that have fixed prices and formed cartels or are practising anti-competitive behaviour. It introduced “opt out” actions where everyone affected is automatically a member of the “class” which is suing. I don’t think there have been many cases going through the courts under this provision, however. Perhaps it is still prohibitively expensive and few lawyers are experienced in the process outside the well-known group compensation cases following an incident or medical negligence claim.

I am in favour of the use of class action in cases such as this, where printer manufacturers have acted in an anticompetitive way to block the use of third party ink cartridges as a result of firmware updates. This should not be necessary if our CMA did their job.

My main concern about class action is the legal costs of taking such action.

I presume this is an international problem. BEUC, of which organisation Which? is a member, could presumably organise a proper investigation of this problem amongst all the EU consumer groups and decide first, the extent of the problem, second, the legality under consumer law and then instigate legal action if appropriate. I see no reason why the UK should have to go it alone.

Which? could report on what it sees as the real extent of this problem, the best course of action and, also, tell us whether it has discussed this with the 3rd party ink suppliers who have, I believe, a trade magazine https://www.therecycler.com/posts/hp-leads-the-firmware-wars/. We have made requests like this several times but with no response. @gmartin, George, can anyone in Which? respond?

Hi, Hollie did respond here:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/printer-software-update-third-party-printer-ink/#comment-1603599

Work regarding printers/ink has also been published here recently:

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/10/why-buying-a-cheap-printer-could-sometimes-prove-a-false-economy/

I will make her aware of the additional comments.

@gmartin, thanks George. The last link did not seem to address the problem being discussed – 3rd party ink blocking – and the first did not address the specific questions being asked, more a “work is in progress” statement. But for a problem over 4 years old perhaps there should have been more progress?

Questions not addressed (unless I’ve missed it, in which case I apologise) were the extent of the problem, the legal position , whether Which? are working with their European colleagues and whether they have discussed this with the 3rd party ink industry.

Unfortunately I can only point you back to Hollie’s original response I’m afraid. If there are any updates that are able to be shared in public then she will share them.

If there were a Members only Convo I would use it for my reply. There isn’t now since the members’ forum was closed.

I think this reply rather illustrates the frequent lack of engagement that Which? seems to wish to perpetuate with its members and contributors. I would have thought simply asking someone in Which? to reply would be quite straightforward, but, apart from Kate and one or two others (apart from our estimable Convo managers) how often do we see Which? staff making any contribution or respond to questions asked?

The answers to my questions could be – no, we have/have not not taken this up through BEUC; we do not know the legal position / the legal position is…; we have/have not spoken to 3rd party ink suppliers to seek statistics and their views.

Thank you to everyone who has commented on the issue of Dynamic Security. I want to assure our readers that we understand and share their concerns and it’s something we are actively working on. However, as wavechange points out, these are not easy questions to answer. One of the key things is ensuring that we have sufficient evidence of consumer harm to put a compelling case forward, so we’d encourage Which? Conversation readers to continue to share their experiences with both HP and other branded printers. Rest assured we will provide updates when and if we make progress, but this may not be for a while so please bear with us in the meantime.

@hhennessy, thanks Hollie. But some questions are straightforward and should be easy to answer.

Hi Hollie and thanks for coming back to this Convo.

One of the challenges is to establish that printers are deliberately rendered unusable, for example by installing updated firmware. Some of the problems reported in this Convo could be due to faulty third party cartridges or printer failure. Nevertheless, there are good examples where a working printer has failed immediately after an update. If it is seen as important to quantify the problem then it might be useful to put a request for reports in the next magazine and/or run a Connect survey on printers with relevant questions asking about cartridge problems and when they occurred.

It was thanks to Convo that I learned that it was inadvisable to install printer updates. I have had no problem with either of my HP printers, one quite old, and I have saved a considerable amount by using third party ink.

Jonathan says:
4 November 2020

I have a HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw using 3rd party inks, it did an update yesterday and now the cartridges do not work and I get a supply problem message. I spoke to HP today and they confirmed that the latest firmware update stops all 3rd party cartridges from working so you have to use genuine ink. I told them I would take my business elsewhere.

Mateusz says:
5 November 2020

Dear jonathan, I can help you and everyone else with Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw with downgrading software. Hit me up on my e-mail: majer.mateusz96@gmail.com 🙂

Mateusz says:
6 November 2020

Dear jonathan,
I have found a solution for your problem:
1. Download firmware from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-4iVb7W2oLls20IT8ja8yvBCYHdbWsnw/view?usp=sharing (I was managed to download old firmware and upload it to my drive before they replaced it with the new one)
2. Turn on your printer, It will show an error message,click on house icon, select “setup”, then “Service”, “Laserjet update”, “manage updates”, “allow downgrade”, “YES”.
3. go back to the setup menu (if you go back to main menu, you won’t be able to downgrade the software)
4. Open firmware app, select your printer, start downgrading your software. It may take about 10-15 minutes.
5. Your 3rd party ink should work.
Don’t forget to block updates after you downgrade your firmware!
This might work with other laserjet pro M280-281 printers, but I tested it on my 281fdw.

Hope this helps!

Andy says:
8 November 2020

I have the same problem with this printer.
Is the statement above now untrue?
“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.”

The HP Color Laserjet Pro MFP M281fdw is a laser printer which uses toner cartridges rather than ink cartridges. I have not read about cartridge blocking with laser printers but here is a post on the HP Community website from last year about this problem with this printer: https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/LaserJet-Printing/Color-Laserjet-pro-MFP-M-281cdw-blocking-3rd-party-toner/td-p/7088524

I do wish that Which? would take action to get this problem resolved. If there is not enough evidence in the UK the joint efforts of European and other consumer associations could take joint action.

We cannot rely on voluntary agreements.

For those affected by the latest hp firmware update, I have found download locations for the previous firmware (that allows compatible toner cartridges to be used) for 2 hp printers:
HP_LaserJet_Pro_M280_M281_Printer_series_20200612.exe at https://anonymousfiles.io/gABQ2EWf/
HP_Color_LaserJet_Pro_M254_dw_Printer_series_20200612.exe at https://anonymousfiles.io/CINsz7Ls/

The latest hp 20201021 firmware has blocked the use of compatible toners for the following models:
HP Color Laserjet M254nw
HP Color Laserjet M254dw
HP Color Laserjet M280nw
HP Color Laserjet M281dn
HP Color Laserjet M154A
HP Color Laserjet M154nw
HP Color Laserjet M180
HP Color Laserjet M181
HP Color Laserjet M191FW

This was reported on https://www.ghost-white-toner.com/firmware-update-warning/ and elsewhere.
HP have removed all previous versions from their ftp site and are actively removing links to the old firmware from their support forum.

The previous versions for 2 of the models are here:
HP_LaserJet_Pro_M280_M281_Printer_series_20200612.exe at https://anonymousfiles.io/gABQ2EWf/
HP_Color_LaserJet_Pro_M254_dw_Printer_series_20200612.exe at https://anonymousfiles.io/CINsz7Ls/

If anyone has working firmware for other models it would be useful to post links to help the community.

Thanks for this helpful post Andy. The video in your first link shows how easy it is to downgrade the firmware if an update has blocked use of third party toner cartridges.

Chris says:
10 November 2020

HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw printer has just done the new firmware update on its own (i was never given the option to turn on automatic updates it came set as default) cartridges were fine in the printer then one day it was displaying “Supply Problem” so we spend £100’s on new ones, reinstalled them and this dam printer still showing “Supply Problem”. Absolutely furious!

Jonathan (above) has had the same problem with an HP colour LaserJet printer following a firmware. update. Are you using original toner cartridges or third party ones?

Adrian M says:
11 November 2020

I have an HP M254dw – four colour laser. 30 months old. Supplied HP cartridges lasted ~18 months. New cartridges cost more than a new printer so bought compatible which worked for 12 months and were still nearly full. Most recent firmware upgrade – “supply problem” – it’s not a supply problem, it’s blatant protectionism. Last HP printer I buy or recommend.

As mentioned in the introduction it should be possible to revert to the previous firmware with HP printers. See the video in the first link provided by andy_457 above.

Justin van der Lande says:
24 November 2020

Same here – what a rip off – HP are obviously is a very bad way – lets hope the go under !