HP is still paying the price for hastily preventing third-party ink from being used in its printers. Customers negatively impacted by HP’s use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to restrict third-party ink and toner from functioning in its printers have agreed with the firm. They will receive compensation through cheap color copy printing as per the agreement.
The company has already settled with customers in the United States and has been fined in Italy and other countries like Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
When HP launched Dynamic Security in 2016, an upgrade to the printer’s firmware that disabled support for cartridges without an HP chip, users were understandably dissatisfied. Users who had previously been able to print with fully functional cartridges were suddenly met with error warnings preventing them from doing so. HP stated at the time that the decision was made to safeguard HP’s intellectual property and to assist customers in avoiding buying fake or low-quality ink. Nonetheless, it appeared to be a commercial strategy to safeguard one of HP’s major profit drivers at the time, which was linked to a failing industry.
Bleeping Computer reported on Monday that on September 7, Euroconsumers, a European consumer association, announced a deal with HP to attempt to compensate customers in the territories mentioned above financially. According to the announcement by Euroconsumers, HP has agreed to set aside $1,350,000 (about 1,351,147 euro) for “compensation to select HP printer owners for losses allegedly sustained as a consequence of being ignorant that their printers were equipped with Dynamic Security.” Compensation ranges from 20 to 95 euros per person, depending on the printer model and the extent of the damage.
The settlement is not “an acknowledgment of any fault or wrongdoing by HP. It is neither an acknowledgment by Euroconsumers of the groundlessness of its claims.”
Euroconsumers added that it “alleges that they did not fully brief consumers about the Dynamic Security would cause printers to reject certain non-HP replacement ink cartridges.”
Even yet, HP’s abrupt removal of the option to select from its customers was a terrible show. That it has to make reparations now is hardly the first time. In addition to negative press coverage, HP reportedly settled with US consumers for $1.5 million and Australian customers for around AUD$50 each. In 2020, HP was fined 10,000,000 euros by the Italian Antitrust Authority for “misleading and aggressive marketing activities.”
Unfortunately, this may be the extent of HP’s liability, as using digital rights management (DRM) to prevent the sale of third-party ink and toner has become widespread in the printing sector. As observed by Bleeping Computer, HP reversed course after receiving initial criticism for implementing Dynamic Security by removing it from some printers via firmware updates. Newer printers, however, still have the function. HP places a bolded, prominent notice about Dynamic Security at the top of the printers’ product pages. The provider additionally provides a page specifically for Dynamic Security and its explanations.
The additional drawbacks of this ink-killing scheme became more apparent with the assistance of Lady Karma. The situation forced Canon to instruct customers on how to get around its DRM warnings because shortages caused by the pandemic affected the company’s ability to manufacture toners with its chips.
HP did not disclose such difficulties; despite analysts’ emphasis on the impact of supply chain restrictions, the company’s printer business experienced a decline of 6 percent to $4.6 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2022.
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