Printer companies never seem to run out of ideas when it comes to implementing digital rights management (DRM) on their devices, and HP is no exception.
Recently, the International Imaging Technology Council (IITC) has accused HP of engaging in “greenwashing” tactics to conceal questionable business practices associated with its HP+ printers. Let’s delve into the details and understand the controversy surrounding these printers.
A History of Questionable Behavior
HP has faced criticism in Europe and the US for its actions related to printer cartridge DRM. In fact, the company agreed to pay $1.35 million in compensation to affected customers last year.
This issue revolves around a feature called Dynamic Security, introduced by HP in 2016, which was supposedly aimed at preventing the use of subpar ink.
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Unveiling a “Modern and Simple” Solution
In 2020, amidst the chaos caused by a global pandemic, HP introduced what it called the “most modern and simple printing solution on the market.”
The HP Deskjet 2755e, priced at $95 and Amazon’s best-selling printer, offers a wireless color printer with scanning capabilities and six months of free ink delivered when cartridges are running low.
The Hidden Truth Behind Free Ink
However, there’s no such thing as “free” in the printer industry. To access the supposedly “free” ink, customers must subscribe to HP+’s service, which extends the printer’s warranty by one year, grants access to the HP Smart app, and emphasizes environmental conservation through tree planting for every printed page.
Questionable Labeling and Restrictive Practices
This hidden subscription model went unnoticed until the IITC filed a complaint against HP. They accused the company of improper use of the EPEAT label, which certifies products as eco-friendly and allows the use of non-manufacturer and remanufactured cartridges.
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Firmware Updates and Remote Monitoring
To further strengthen their ink cartridge DRM, HP has issued multiple firmware updates in recent months. Moreover, the Instant Ink terms and conditions clearly state that HP reserves the right to remotely monitor users’ activities, including the devices used for print jobs.
Fighting Back Against Deceptive Practices
The IITC complaint doesn’t possess the legal weight of a lawsuit, but it serves as a reminder to consumers to make informed choices and hold companies like HP accountable.
The organization aims to convince the Global Electronics Council to revoke the EPEAT certification for HP+ printers and review other HP products for potential misuse of the label.
Consider Better Alternatives
Despite the popularity of HP+ printers, there are better alternatives available. For example, the Brother MFC-J1010DW priced at $99 or the MFC-J1205W priced at $130 offer viable options that may serve consumers more effectively.
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In conclusion, the controversy surrounding HP+ printers sheds light on the deceptive practices employed by printer companies. Consumers must stay informed, voice their concerns, and make conscious choices that align with their interests and values.