Everyone has a story where they needed to print something quickly and couldn’t because of a problem with their machine’s printer cartridge. In these cases, you’d likely search for another cartridge in your home, but even then, you still might run into problems with compatibility, the type of ink, or some other random problem that prevents you from completing your task. Unfortunately, these problems have plagued the printer industry since it was first introduced, but recent lawsuits against the popular computer and printer company, HP, Inc. or Hewlett-Packard, suggest that the situation was much worse than we had originally thought.
According to the lawsuits, HP sent a software update to all its printers to make them incompatible with third-party ink cartridges, forcing people to purchase HP’s more expensive products if they wanted to continue using their machine. While the plaintiffs in these suits believe HP may have done this as early as 2016, when the company pushed forward the first set of software updates that essentially act as malware on their customer’s products, it seems that HP may have ramped up its efforts in recent years. While this problem is very frustrating for the individual user, HP also allegedly sent out messages to HP Printers that stopped generic ink cartridges from working while people started working from home in 2020 - forcing individuals stuck at home and businesses struggling to get by to have had to pay highly inflated costs for ink to use their printer, all for the sake of HP’s profit margin.
The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) prohibits a company from causing damage to a “protected computer” - including computer printers. Additionally, many states have consumer protection laws that prohibit companies from misleading consumers to sell their products. If you purchased a HP DeskJet, OfficeJet, HP ENVY, or any other HP printer product that can now only use HP ink cartridges, you could be eligible to join a lawsuit and recover compensation. Although it might seem complicated, our attorneys are here to help you navigate through the process and set yourself up for success. Contact us today to get started.
What Makes Third-Party Ink Cartridges Incompatible?
HP routinely sends software updates to all its products to update them to the latest technological and company standard. However, the recent class-action lawsuits suggest that some of the recent software updates made their machines incompatible with third-party ink cartridges, which wasn’t the case prior to the update. Many customers rely on third-party cartridges because the HP branded products are so expensive, but these individuals must find another way to keep their printers stocked now that they aren’t compatible. To make matters worse, some people will buy ink cartridges in bulk to avoid a headache when it comes time to print something quickly. Now that the compatibility has different rules, these individuals have stacks of ink cartridges they can’t use, essentially wasting their hard-earned money.
The problem persists across all of HP’s printer devices, but here are a few of the products that are at the center of the class action lawsuit:
- HP DeskJet Printers
- HP DeskJet Pro All-In-One Printers
- HP OfficeJet Printers
- HP OfficeJet Pro All-In-One Printers
- HP ENVY All-In-One Printers
Although these products used to be compatible with third-party ink cartridges, many models are no longer compatible with any cartridge not produced by HP. This means that other devices might very well be experiencing the same issue as the aforementioned. If you’re shopping for a new printer, it’s likely best to avoid HP’s products entirely until the issue is resolved.
How Did HP Break the Law?
HP knowingly pushed software updates that made third-party printer cartridges obsolete and forced its customers into purchasing the company’s more expensive cartridges. The class-action plaintiffs characterize the update as malware, as it removed and changed code within the printer units much like a malware program would on a computer. These customers relied on the cheaper products for years but will now have to either spend more money or wait until a company can develop a new product that bypasses these new restrictions.
HP’s actions made the products in their customer’s homes completely unusable without HP-branded ink cartridges. Their business tactics are unfair, deceptive, and, most importantly, illegal. Although HP can attempt to remove itself from the liability, it’s only a matter of time until they’re held accountable for their unethical actions. With your help, the class-action lawsuit can compensate the victims and make the open market a safer place for all consumers.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
No organization should be allowed to bully its customers into paying more money to use a product they’ve already purchased. HP’s decision to employ a deceptive business tactic to bolster its profit margin was made from a perspective of greed, as they cared little about the financial burden they were placing on the consumers that trusted them. Now, they must face the consequences in the courtroom, and together, we can reach a verdict that compensates all the victims and sets an example for others to follow in the future.
Morgan & Morgan stands with the plaintiffs in this lawsuit and all other individuals who are being bullied by a large corporation. If you own a HP printer that can no longer use third-party cartridges, or you were overcharged for an HP ink cartridge, you could be eligible to join the lawsuit. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.