HP 'apologizes' for blocking third-party ink cartridges in its printers, fix on the way


TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Last week, it was reported that HP had pushed out a firmware update to some of its printers back in March that would disable certain third-party ink cartridges from September 13 onwards, thereby forcing people to purchase the company’s own ink products, which are usually more expensive.

HP’s cartridges contain a chip that the printer checks to make sure they are official. Thanks to the update, the devices won't function if the cartridges are identified as those from competitors or even refilled HP products.

Following a public outcry, the company has apologized for not being more open about the move. It also promised that an optional update to remove the restriction on non-HP cartridges would be available “within two weeks.”

In its blog post, HP said it should have done a “better job of communicating” the firmware update. “We are committed to transparency in all of our communications and when we fall short, we call ourselves out."

More than 10,000 people signed the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) open letter calling for HP to apologize to its customers and restore the original functionality of the printers. While HP is releasing the update to fix the restriction, it insists the decision was to protect customers, rather than forcing them into buying expensive HP ink.

"We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP," said COO John Flaxman. "When ink cartridges are cloned or counterfeited, the customer is exposed to quality and potential security risks, compromising the printing experience.”

The EFF and many consumers have argued that HP’s intentions were less about customer security and more to do with shifting its own-brand cartridges. "Right now, the vast majority of people who use the affected printers likely do not know why their printers lost functionality, nor do they know that it’s possible to restore it,” said the EFF.

HP is unrepentant, as it insists it's acting in the customers’ best interests. "We will continue to use security features to protect the quality of our customer experience, maintain the integrity of our printing systems, and protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working," Flaxman added.

No matter how much HP argues that the incident was just a case of miscommunication that’s now been cleared up, the company’s reputation has taken a battering.

Permalink to story.



Nigerian Prince
I just refill my cartriges. I bought a black and color refill kit of 16oz bottles for ~$30 and that was 4 years ago. I only buy cartriges when the print heads dry out and I've only had to do that twice


Useless and immaterial.
Stopped using HP 6+ years ago when India effed up their customer support
and other companies came in with better, low-cost options and most importantly -
reliable options.


TS Evangelist
HP, Lexmark, Xerox, and I am sure others. I own a Brother MFC B&W laser, but their cartridges are inexpensive enough to make them worth buying instead of buying a new printer. On the other hand, I also own a Xerox color laser. When one of the toner cartridges is empty, my plans are to buy a new printer since even a singular toner cartridge will likely cost more than a new printer.

Having previously worked in that part of the industry, it has been this way for years. Try to give away the printer in hopes that owners will buy the supplies forever. IMHO, this is not a sustainable model for anyone.

Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
Pretty low move. Well I gave up on HP years ago when their inkjets just couldn't paper feed reliably. Had 2 models and it just would jam up all the time pulling multiple sheets in.

Went to Epson for the better print quality and overall reliability but the inks are expensive.


TS Enthusiast
Mine stopped working bought a colour laser printer cheaper than the actual cartridges....so I`ll buy a new printer when they run out.......Very strange.

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I agree with first comment. I was a LOYAL HP customer, actually buying the first 5 large non-pen plotters sold in the USA. Over the years we have seen a constant erosion of HP benefits with lots and lots of surcharges along the way. When they started charging a premium price for driver updates, then conveniently dropping support for several we started shopping around. I'm now happy to report a much better relationship with BROTHER and we don't see ever going back to HP .... they are simply anti-business!
  • Like
Reactions: Phr3d and LenovoX


TS Addict
I own an HP Officejet Pro 8610 and I have to say it's a really nice printer. I just want HP to allow us to use other brands along with expired carts (the expiry dates on the carts are ridiculous and obviously there to keep end-users buying new carts). All they need to do is throw up a disclaimer and let us continue on. We paid for the product it should be our choice. They made a really bad move here but I hope they see the light and get back on track. Their hardware is good and it would be a shame to waste it with bad executive decisions.