HP all-in-one printers can be deliberately defective. Company would have forced customers to buy new cartridges to use features that do not require ink and revolted US consumers

HP all-in-one printers may be deliberately defective

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Company would have forced customers to buy new cartridges to use features that do not require ink and revolted US consumers

A HP faces a problem in the justice of the USA that puts the operation of all its printers all-in-one, also called multifunctional, in check. Many customers have begun to notice that when ink is low, their devices fail to scan or fax. What's wrong with that? It's just that these features don't need ink to be carried out. Understand the case.

HP may have deliberately caused the problem

It's quite normal that after a series of prints, printers need to have their ink cartridges changed to get everything done again. But US customers have noticed that HP appears to have made a defect to sell more cartridges for its all-in-one printers — the all-in-ones that let you print, scan, copy and even fax.

hp all-in-one printer
Models required cartridge replacement for features that do not need ink (Photo: Disclosure)

When the amount of ink is very low, the devices fail to scan documents or send faxes. For the functionalities to return, it is necessary to change the cartridge — which makes no sense, since these actions do not require the use of ink to be performed.

This compels customers to buy more cartridges and, of course, makes more profit for the company. Consumers have noticed the problem, reporting that the printers go into an “error state”. US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman found claims confirming the manufacturer knew of the issue, as an HP agent indicated the printer would not run "out of ink", but the cartridge still had some ink and the scan and faxing do not require ink.

hp all-in-one printer
Company attendant confirmed that products do not work without ink (Photo: Disclosure)

Another judge in the city of San Jose, Calif., cites in the lawsuit that the company has more than a duty to admit the problem if it has been detected during testing and in accordance with customer notices. During the lawsuit, HP cited that customers were unable to prove the printers were deliberately defective, so there is no reason for the lawsuit to go forward.

How much profit does HP make from selling cartridges?

Data up to October 2022 show that, including printers and supplies, the HP had a profit of US$ 19,8 billion (R$ 98 billion in direct conversion). That equates to 30% of the company's overall revenue, which came to $63 billion. By putting a purposeful problem on the all-in-one printers, the company is able to ensure that this profit is stable.

hp all-in-one printer cartridges
Company makes high profit from the sale of cartridges (Photo: Disclosure)

And the more models with this “defect” are placed on the market, the more this profit increases. It's a business that never stops growing because, day after day, printers are bought all over the world. When asked by the to Reuters for comment on the case, the company did not respond to requests and everything must be discussed only in US justice.

Customers who filed the suit mention that functional printers purchased in California and Minnesota have such a problem of requesting a replacement cartridge before it is actually empty.

What comes next?

With the process accepted by the US courts, the HP now you need to prove that you didn't know about the possible defect, and also that you weren't doing it just to profit more. A version of the complaint was filed in June 2022, but was shelved due to lack of arguments from lawyers.

The testimony of a support agent citing that the printer will not scan with an empty cartridge or without a cartridge was essential for a new action to be opened, so the company needs to be fairly accountable.

The court considers these claims sufficient at this stage because they identify the specific cause of the defect and how the defect manifests itself.

US Court on HP Action

The company has already experienced several problems due to the cartridges in its printers. In 2020, a deal worth US$ 1,5 million was closed after allegations that if third-party (cheaper) cartridges were used, the devices yielded less compared to the use of HP cartridges. A similar case was settled from Europe and the settlement had a value of US$1,35 million.

HP's intent is clear, namely to return its multifunction devices to an inoperable 'error state' so that a large portion of these multifunction device buyers purchase unnecessary and overpriced ink cartridges in order to be able to scan and send documents by fax. The ultimate goal is to increase sales for one of HP's biggest profit makers, ink cartridges, by any and all means.

Lawyers for clients who filed a lawsuit against a printer company

What do you think of this case? Ever faced problems with a branded printer? Tell us us Comment!

See also other features

Review: HP Laser Neverstop 1200W is one of the best mid-range printers on the market

With information: to Reuters l Courthouse News Service

reviewed by Glaucon Vital in 14 / 8 / 23.

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  1. I work with printer maintenance and I can say from my own experience, HP has a good printer, but it has a serious problem, if you need maintenance, in many models, HP simply does not supply parts, an example is the small machines from laserjet line (inkjet is even worse), if you need a new fuser (fuser is a part that has a useful life), you won't be able to buy it. And in the models that it supplies this type of part, the value is usually very high, making the repair impracticable.

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