Office Products News

HP to compensate customers over misleading ink claim

7 May 2018

Customers of HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd (HP) who bought certain models of HP printers without being informed non-HP ink cartridges may not work in them could be eligible for compensation

HP has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) a court-enforceable undertaking to compensate customers who were unable to use non-HP ink cartridges due to an undisclosed technology in their printers.

The technology, known as ‘Dynamic Security Feature’ (DSF), was designed to prevent non-HP ink cartridges from being used in these HP printers.

HP has sold approximately 220,000 of the affected printers in Australia alone and a large number of them had DSF installed either before the time of purchase or subsequently when a firmware update made available by HP was downloaded.

In September 2016, some owners of HP OfficeJet inkjet printers who were using non-HP ink cartridges had those ink cartridges rejected, and in many cases, received an error message which indicated that the cartridge was damaged, when this was not the case.

ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said: “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.

“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,” he said.

HP admitted that it had likely breached Australian consumer law by engaging in supposedly false, misleading or deceptive conduct.

HP will reimburse $50 to those who were prevented from using a non-HP cartridge. More than 2000 customers are likely to have been affected, meaning total compensation could amount to over $100,000.

HP has since made available an automatic firmware update for download which removes the DSF from certain inkjet printer models and allows customers to use non-HP cartridges.

The ten HP inkjet printer models affected by the conduct 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.