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HP Secretly Rendering Printer Cartridges Unusable?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the tin-foil-hat-brigade dept.

The Courts 565

Momoru writes "Looks like a woman is suing Hewlett Packard, claiming that their "smart chip" technology, besides giving information about ink usage, is also secretly programmed to not work after a certain certain date." From the article: "HP ink cartridges use a chip technology to sense when they are low on ink and advise the user to make a change. But the suit claims those chips also shut down the cartridges at a predetermined date regardless of whether they are empty." We've reported recently on printer companies making questionable business decisions.

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565 comments

Hack-a-do (5, Informative)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750242)

Meanwhile, people may try this trick to hack expiry date on ink cartridges [theinquirer.net] , which might have been proven to work [pcbuyersguide.com] .

Do these cartridges have expiry date printed on them?

Re:Hack-a-do (1)

SimGuy (611829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750271)

I think the boxes have expiration dates printed on them, but as annoying as HP's ink level checks have ever been (notifying me months before the ink is depleted), I've never run into a situation where it wouldn't let me run the ink all the way to the actual empty point.

Could you be a bit more noncommittal? (0, Troll)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750326)

"Might have been proven to work"? Um, yeah, whatever...

Are you sure? (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750483)

It is possible they could be more noncommittal. Or less, as the case might be.


However, it may not be so much as noncommitment, which is merely a lack of commitment, as an anti-commitment.

Re:Hack-a-do (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750501)

Easy to test, and maybe easy to fix:

Take your computer offline, reboot, set your BIOS date forwards four years, bring it back up in Windows and try printing again. If it comes up bitching, take the debugger to their printer drivers and sniff out any Win32 API calls to GetSystemDate(). Patch according to taste (hardwiring a return value of 1/1/2000 should make their carts happy that they haven't expired yet.)

I can't think of any legitimate reason for a printer driver to know the current date, so there doesn't appear to be an immediate reason why this wouldn't work.

Wow (1)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750244)

Just... Wow. This is lunacris - first the good news that Fiona is leaving, now this? HP hass lost it in the modern market, and unless they wirry more about the customer and less about the bottem line than they currently do, let's just say the market will respond. (It has already to an extent)

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750270)

I guess now we know why printers are HP's last profitable division.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750273)

Most... Mispelled... Post... Ever!

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

El_Servas (672868) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750304)

Oh kmon. Don't wirry about it.

You'll probably be modded down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750333)

... but FWIW: That was funny.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

Steffan (126616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750329)

"Just... Wow. This is lunacris"
lunacris?

WTF?

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750377)

It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:Wow (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750503)

Yeah, it's perfectly cromulent, ESTONIAN [google.com] . Embiggined indeed!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750519)

It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Cromulent? I daresay it's scrumtrulescent.

Re:Wow (3, Funny)

brilinux (255400) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750402)

lunacris?

It means that its stupidity is dependent upon the current position of the moon.

Re:Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750467)

Out of this World FUCKED up.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

prockcore (543967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750471)

Lunacris is the white rapper version of ludacris

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750487)

That's the spanish word for the lunar christ...

It's seeped its way into common use in the americas, as a general-purpose word, meaning anything so outlandish it can't be believable.

The south american lunar christ cultists have recently been dissolved (forcibly) by the argentine government, (see news [univision.com] relating to that), I'm sure they're satisfied that their diety will live on for awhile in popular language.

The primary lunacris cultist belief was that upon death, a man will rise to the heavens and join the lord in the Sea of tranquility.

From what I know of the cult, they were most popular in their founding country of Argentina, but they are still quite popular and active in Chile and Ecuador, with inactive members in some of the other South American countries.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750512)

lunacris (n): 1. A crisis, during a lunar eclipse. 2. An alternative spelling of ludicrous, as seen on Slashdot. 3. Hewlett-Packard.

Slashdot doesn't report... (3, Funny)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750245)

...it just quotes people who sometimes have agendas.

Re:Slashdot doesn't report... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750279)

"Slashdot doesn't report.. ...it just quotes people who sometimes have agendas."

Sorry about your mom getting fired.

Leave women to run companies... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750247)

and this is what happens.

Proof? (5, Insightful)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750249)

Does this woman actually have proof of this or is she just angry about having to pay HP's prices for replacements?

It wouldn't surprise me at all, but I'll believe it when I'm able to read the alleged expiration date off of my own HP cartridges. I've had an HP printer for 2 years--some of the cartridges are original and some have been replaced just once. I can't say I've ever had them stop working or falsely report empty. The nice thing is the cartridges are even a clear case so I can easily optically verify whether they are empty or not.

Re:Proof? (0)

almostmanda (774265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750286)

How would you know if it "falsely" reported a cartridge as empty?

Re:Proof? (4, Funny)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750325)

How would you know if it "falsely" reported a cartridge as empty?

WTF?!?!?

The nice thing is the cartridges are even a clear case so I can easily optically verify whether they are empty or not.

-9mm-

Re:Proof? (5, Interesting)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750296)

Since the article didn't back this up with any technical evidence, it's hard to tell if it's true. However, HP could have piggybacked this onto the low ink indicator, but only have it work like this 20% of the time. This would make enough people think, "hey, it doesn't happen to me so it's probably not true". However, 20% could still be a large enough percentage to make some money off this scheme.

Re:Proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750481)

I have a HP d135 color printer/copier that behaved exactly she described. The printer was seldom used for about a year, with only a few 10s of pages printed on the cartridges, when suddenly one night it refused to print because it said that the cartridge had expired. It displayed this message on the LCD panel.

If I had kids, they would have learned quite a few new words that night...

Modchips (1, Funny)

Folmer (827037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750253)

1: Design a modchip that makes the cartridges work forever

2: ???

3: Profit!

Re:Modchips (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750342)

Let me help you out:

2: Sell them!

Re:Modchips (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750368)

Oh and he forgot:

4 - Get DMCA C&D notice from printer manufacturer
5 - Hire a lawyer to fight ludicrous claim in court
6 - Realize they have more money than you to throw at lawyers and give up the fight

Re:Modchips (0, Flamebait)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750435)

7 - Get raped by a man with the proportions of a German Olympic Shot Putter who answers to the name "Knuckles" while in a minimum security prison.

Sigh... (0, Offtopic)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750261)

So much for my pro-HP rant yesterday....

Jaysyn

Re:Sigh... (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750446)

Serves you right. :p

Just got done trying to work on a 4 year old HP pavillion that has voltage drops on it's power supply. Told the customer to go get a new system, despite her protests that it was only 4 years old..

Heh..

I'm sticking with the "old-school" printers until this situation blows over so I can chuck this dammed lexmark into the can.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750506)

Well my rant was about a 9 yr old HP. That still works great. Different company back then though.

Jaysyn

Ink dries out eventually (4, Insightful)

ExMember (212079) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750264)

I'm sure dried ink can reek havoc on printer heads. This is not necessarily an attempt to screw over their customers

Re:Ink dries out eventually (5, Informative)

SimGuy (611829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750298)

But the inkjet heads are in the cartridges.... If the dried ink destroys the head, you have to replace the cartridge anyway.

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

TheUnknownOne (810624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750314)

Shouldnt it be possible to get around this using alternative drivers? (Although you would lose functionality in not knowing when your cartridges are dead) Also, could you get around this by changing your computers time? (Yes I know this is a hassle but...)

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

Rothron the Wise (171030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750340)

So what if it clogs up the heads? Most heads are part of the cartridge. Epson and Canon are exceptions I think.

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750344)

Umm the cart IS the print head you are talking normal inkjet printers/plotters.. so that isnt a valid argument.

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750400)

Negative. That is sometimes the case but not always. Many HP printers, especially, have separately replacable print heads.

Read closely (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750448)

I used the word *NORMAL* I did not say all.

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

kmeson (165278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750350)

The print head is built in to the ink cartridges on HP printers. There is literally nothing between the cartridge and the paper. So you can't rationalize epiry dates on ink cartridges by saying it's to protect the print head.

Other causes than expiry date (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750438)

Firstly, the HP inkjet cartridge includes the print head, so no real damage is done if you run a bad cartridge.

However, there are far more important things than exiry date for the useful lifetime. If you use the printer in a very dry area then the ink is far more likely to dry out quicker. If we're really to believe that HP is doing this to be nice to us, then I'd expect to see a humidity sensor.

It might be OK to tell the user that their cartridge has expired and let them choose to use it or not. Surely the choice is the customer's. Analogy: Milk has an expiry date. If you use old milk, that's your business. The milk company don't prevent you from using milk that's a couple of days past expiry (though maybe if they could figure out technology to do this they would).

'Reek' Havoc? Was Re:Ink dries out eventually (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750491)

I'm sure dried ink can reek havoc on printer heads. This is not necessarily an attempt to screw over their customers

In other news, a sociopathic misetymist attempted to wreak havoc on Slashdot readers by using a nonsensical word reek in its place. He then proceeded to claim this buthering of a real word was not necessarily an attempt to screw over Slashdot readers since they're clueless anyway, and in Java or PHP or even in HPGL it is legal to call a variable reek.

Re:Ink dries out eventually (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750515)

I know what you're saying, and I would certainly like some actual evidence that this is true (if the article said "Lexmark" I'd have less trouble believing it.) However, I would argue that the entire business model of selling underpriced printers subsidized by long-term sales of overpriced consumables is an attempt to screw over their customers. Granted, this applies to pretty much all printer makers so I can't single out HP on that one.

Go Cannon (4, Informative)

preatorian (778996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750265)

Good thing my cannon cartridges come with JUST INK, no stupid electronics to get in the way.

I know they say its good to replace the nozzles every once in a while, but with every ink tank???

HP/Lexmark/etc. need to learn that consumers aren't willing to pay these taxes anymore.

Re:Go Cannon (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750433)

I have repeatedly heard that Canon makes the best and easiest to refill inkjet printers/cartridges. Regardless, not every HP inkjet's print cartridges include the print heads.

Bone dry (2, Informative)

homerj79 (58075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750278)

There arent too many details on this, but i ran the cartridge in my HP printer (Photosmart 1110) bone dry. This was long after their software was telling me my cartridge was empty.

Just a continuation of an old trend (1)

SteelV (839704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750280)

For years, I've noticed that on HP printers, it leaves a great deal of ink in the catridge while saying that it is out of ink. Controversly, I have a slightly older printer of the same that KEEPS PRINTING FAR TOO LONG, and actually prints even when there is hardly any ink left. I guess they realized how much money they can make from these overpriced cartridges?

Plotters (4, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750287)

I believe this issue previously came up with HP plotters. People were installing "new" ink cartridges in their plotter, only to discover that the cartridge had expired. HP's explanation was that old ink cartridges could cause expensive damage to the plotter by clogging up the ink system with deteriorated ink.

BUllshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750361)

I'm sure dried ink can reek havoc on printer heads. This is not necessarily an attempt to screw over their customers

nah, hp just trying to gouge their customers. I've known about this for a few years. Yes, indeed, they are programmed to STOP WORKING after a certain amount of time REGARDLESS of the status of the ink.

HOPE IT TURNS INTO A CLASS ACTION

In an unrelated note... (5, Funny)

Bionic_Baboon (684462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750292)

HP and Lexmark are discussing a merger.

Re:In an unrelated note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750320)

Is this simply a sarcastic joke, or is this Carly's last gas as she was heading out the door?

Re:In an unrelated note... (1)

VikingDBA (446387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750444)

I hate it when people gas on the way out the door. It's just rude. :)

my experience is... (5, Informative)

omahajim (723760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750293)

...that this is true. My trusty older HP2000C business color inkjet still sees regular use with both Windows XP and OS X. Anyways, the cartridges (HP 10, and also HP 11 which work fine) have an expiration date printed on the foil package. I had occasion to install one of these once and the printer configuration software told me it was expired and refused to use it, even though I could shake it and hear it was full.

Re:my experience is... (1)

omahajim (723760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750352)

Well, I didn't word that properly, but I think at least one person got the gist. I installed an expired cartridge once (according to the date on the package) and via the little copper pads going to the embedded chip in the cartridge, the printer wouldn't let me use it.

Re:my experience is... (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750365)

What happens if you set the date back on your computer hardware? Does it start working again, or is it a "kill code" that forever zaps the cart when it detects the date is past the expiration?

N.

Re:my experience is... (1)

omahajim (723760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750379)

must be the latter. I actually did at the time what you suggested, but no go.

Re:my experience is... (4, Interesting)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750440)

Virus writers could have great fun with this then, it seems. Just write a virus to set the clock ahead a couple years. Bang, whoever gets it and has a HP printer now needs a new cartridge.

Instant profit for HP! Who knows, maybe they'll write the virus themselves...

N.

Re:my experience is... (1)

omahajim (723760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750497)

Sorry, not intending to karma whore, but I remember another problem I had that also rendered a perfectly good cartridge as unuseable (I suspect because of the chip in the cartridge thinking the cartridge was 'empty', due to the problem below, and forever marking the cartridge as such even after the repair).

In 2003, I had a problem with the HP 2000C breaking the "ink supply station". Essentially this particular mess of plastic parts and gears that the ink cartridges mount into, will regularly break. Once it breaks (apparently most frequently the arm for the cyan cart), you can no longer use what may have previously been a good cartridge after you complete the repair.

I was able to order a new "ink supply station" from HP and repair the damage myself, but I remember it being a rather detailed repair. Unfortunately, I no longer have the web pages up that I had posted at the time, but hopefully this usenet thread [google.com] with my postings will explain the problem better.

PS: don't particularly care that it reveals my name. no big deal.

Dates in printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750295)

Why does a printer even know what date it is? Why would it need this. It seems like the kind of 'feature' the typical ink-spray (i.e. no frills cheapo) wouldn't need or use. Can the date simply be fooled? Can the real time clock be disabled?

Re:Dates in printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750390)

Why does a printer even know what date it is?

It needs the date because the FBI needs it to keep your file in chronological order.

Re:Dates in printers (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750406)

Many printers double as fax machines and so need to print the date in a header.

Perhaps with Carly gone sanity will return.` (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750299)

But I'm not hopeful - I think the problem goes one level higher (the board that kicked out the Hewlett kid and hired her)

Makes sense (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750302)

HP is just trying to look out for you! After all, you wouldn't want your ink to 'dry out' or 'go rancid', would you? Plus! It's your job as a consumer to help HP stay in business- and that means buying MORE INK! GAHAhAHAHAHhAhaha

Guess what (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750310)

mY POO IS BROWN

New law on class-action suits (5, Interesting)

abelenky17 (548645) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750321)

Last Friday, Pres. Bush signed a new law changing class-action lawsuit rules, including forcing the suits to Federal Court.

Since this seems to be the first major suit announced, it'll be interesting to see how it works under the new law. Will there be real limits on attorney's fees? Will it be tied up in Federal Court even longer than it would've been in State Court? Will customers see something other than a coupon to buy more ink?

Stay Tuned to find out!

I have a three year old HP desktop (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750328)

And it has been just fantas[...]CONNECTION LOST, COMPUTER 0UT 0F DATE

I noticed that too (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750331)

HP Secretly Rendering Printer Cartridges Unusable

and Canon, Epson, Oki, Brother,... They all slowly render my printers unusable by selling me ink at $38000/gal [bizjournals.com] , which slowly makes my wallet thinner and thinner until eventually I have no money left, I have to sell my home, put my wife on the street, dress my kids in rags and send them to beg at street corners, and get me a cardboard box to sleep in at night, and protect my (now useless) printer during the day...

Re:I noticed that too (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750403)

DO you have a picture of your wife handy?

Re:I noticed that too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750468)

Or one of the kids...

Another class action (3, Interesting)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750345)

Another class action lawsuit whereby the lawyer gets a third of everything plus expenses and we get a coupon or some vague opportunity to get a small fraction of the money we have been cheated out of. The RIAA was sued for price fixing and hence stealing about 500 million dollars. They only had to pay back about 40 million + another 40 million worth of CD's no one wanted to buy. If you factor in the tax deduction (approximately 35%) and their savings in warehouse space due to dumping a few million CD's they could not sell anyways they are basically out the cost of the plaintiffs legal fee.

We are just livestock on the corporate ranch (1)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750353)

That seems to be the CorpGovMedia theme.....

Typical HP tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750355)

Having been locked into HP proprietary UNIX, a victim of their abondoning of Tru64 UNIX, forced to sign NDAs to receive information regarding constant failures of SAN firmware, it comes as no suprise that HP has sunk to new lows.

This surprises you... how? (5, Interesting)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750359)

Inkjet was always touted as the 'razor' for any company coming up in the ranks. The problem is ... much much much research $$ goes into finding pigments and dyes that are permanent and light fast... as well as fit the receiver requirements.

And companies want to recoup that cost as fast as possible.

I worked on some yellow dyes and can tell you it's a very difficult process. Very expensive- you might have 6 months of failures.. and the floor lab might be stained a million colours.

But when it's done (and your scale up engineers have done it right) you'll get the cost of your ink way down.... I seem to remember some were down around 30$/kg. Pretty cheap. But that was the 'cost' of making the ink, not including all the $$ into research.

And being a chemist I can tell you inks in suspension aren't good after sitting for awhile. Yes, it's in a dark cartridge, but I don't know many people that will tell you it's safe to take a drug /pill thats been in a bottle for 4 years. Ink's not a drug (tho as expensive as cipro!) but it is used to print a photograph that will, if said photo should fade, be lambasted as a "cheap ass company" for producing a bad product (See http://www.wilhelm-research.com/ [wilhelm-research.com] ... mind you I dont have a very high opinion of his work... but it's still a consumer 'start' ... he'll be re-inventing quite a bit of knowledge because he's refused help)

Anyways.... this shouldn't surprise anyone that works with inkjets. The high-volume people will never see the problem, only the low volume people. And those that know will probably do something like this instead http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&cate gory=1246&item=6746041397&rd=1 [ebay.com] - note I am not endorsing this seller or product, only that I'm currently contemplating buying it...)

Re:This surprises you... how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750485)

mod parent up, preferably +1 demi-god if possible :D

Wow! (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750374)

Wow, a lawsuit said so? It must be true!

Don't get me wrong, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. But this entire article is based solely on a "Yahoo! News" article saying a woman filed a lawsuit. Hardly up to the level of content needed for a Slashdot discussion. What exactly are we supposed to post about? "So, a lady is claiming this. It wouldn't surprise me if it was true. Um...yeah." It's just a lawsuit claiming this. There are endless lawsuits each year claiming all kinds of things.

Come on, Zonk. After editing my Star Wars Episode III submission [slashdot.org] to link to IGN instead of ThisIsLondon, and then posting an insightful and timely review of a three-month old game called Halo 2 [slashdot.org] in order to pimp the XFS in the article, you're beginning to turn into the next Michael...

HP, Take a lesson from the diary industry... (1)

Dark Coder (66759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750376)

If you don't take spoiled milk off the shelf, soon you won't have any customer....

Well. (0, Troll)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750388)

Yeah, hacking the carts to remove the expiration date is a good way to get some lawsuits sent at you. After all, they have a big legal department and have a lot of extra money for a legal fund.

What if you saw a pack of razors at the store for like, $1 for a decent quality brand? You'd probably buy them if you're the shaving type. Now lets say that these are made from some revolutionary material that biodegrades in three days. The expiration date on the package is set for three days after sale. You buy the razors and think you're getting a good deal. Three days later, the razors are a puddle of nondescript goo in the package you bought them in.

You do some research and find a way to 'deactivate' the degrading mechanism.

You've just destroyed this company's business model. Their 'good idea' is now a disaster that it might take them months to change. Of course its a stupid idea for the company, but they're more worried about those who oppose them (you) than making good ideas.

Re:Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750428)

I can't believe I read all that! What on earth does that prove!?

Re:Well. (1)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750450)

HP wouldn't have a leg to stand on in a lawsuit. There's precedent against Lexmark - the court ruled that hacking the carts was legal.

Epson printers... (4, Interesting)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750389)

Epson apparently does a similar thing with their printers as my brother fount out the other day.

At a predermined time (On time? Date? Droplets fired?) the printer shut down with the equivilent of an "Engine Check Light" and refuses to print. The driver brings up a generic error message about "serviceable parts are past their usable lifetime" even though the printer was working perfectly.

The printer is so old now that having it serviced is completely out of the question and given that new printers of much greater quality only cost $50, well...

Welcome to the peak of the throw away society! You no longer have to wait till normal, planned, obsolesence kicks in, electronic devices are now programed to fail!

Re:Epson printers... (5, Informative)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750469)

Not exactly the same. Epsons will stop printing when the ink recovery pad in the bottom of the printer is saturated (according to whatever calculation they use). The upside of this is that you don't have to worry about ink pouring out of the bottom of your printer because the pad overflows.

It's possible to reset the printer by pressing a combination of keys on the front panel. Of course, it's recommended that you remove and clean the ink sponge first (there are websites that show how to do this).

N.

Re:Epson printers... (1)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750499)

Oh, hey thanks!

Too bad The Epson guy wasn't as helpful :(

Just to allow the possibility HP isn't evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750391)

..you ever try to print on a printer with an ink cartridge that's been sitting in it, unused, for over a year? The quality is terrible, and I've had to run head and nozzle cleaning routines 5-6 times before getting a servicible (not great--servicible) print back out.

Once an ink cartridge is installed and in use, I'm not terribly suprised that it has a shelf life before it's considered bad or unreliable. Kind of like the spaghetti sauce after you open it--you can't just leave it sitting on a shelf at room tempreature indefinitily anymore.

Now, if it's not LETTING you keep using your old cartridges, that's bad. If it's telling you you're out of ink when you're not, also bad. But if they're just telling you "we recommend you change this cartrige" because you've had it 18 months, well, there's some reason to say that's a GOOD thing to let you know...

What about other manufactures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750393)

Is there a list of companies that also do this or something similar?

Slashdot dupes are getting older...April 30th 2003 (5, Informative)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750395)

I thought I recognised this story. A quick google [google.com.au] revealed this article [slashdot.org] , the original of which this article is an effective dupe (along with a bunch of other slashdot stories about the long-standing axis of evil print cartridges that is Lexmark/HP/Epson.

Me, I buy Canon inkjets. They've gone off in a completely opposite direction: Imagine a world where ink refill cartridges were little plastic containers that hold only ink, no 'chips', no replacing jets each time you run out of ink, no corporate attempt to dictate who you shall buy your ink and/or ink refills from. That's Canon Think Tank [canon.com] .

That's how capitalism works. (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750401)

If you don't like what the company is doing, don't buy their printers. Vote with your wallet; it's the democratic way to show 'em you are displeased. Lawsuits, on the other hand, are backed with guns, and are the way of tyrants. Take your pick.

Re:That's how capitalism works. (1)

wes33 (698200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750449)

capitalism assumes that the consumer has enough knowledge to compare products. Last I looked, HP's cartridges didn't give a "won't work after" date ...

this isn't captitalism -- it's known as sharp practice

This is why they fired her... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750412)

The HP Board of Directors must have found out about these unethical business practices and that's why Carly Fiorina was fired. The real answers always come out on Slashdot.

Is there a list of printers? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750427)

Do all new and recent HP printers do this? I have a HP PhotoSmart printer (forgot the model number) that I got a few months ago.

Seriously, why inkjets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750452)

Years ago, the price differential between ink and laser might have justified going the inkjet route... but in these days of $200-$300 PostScript-compatible laser printers which last substantially longer on a single toner cartridge, why the hell does anybody buy inkjets?

The only reason I can think of is cheap color, but nobody's been able to tell me what color is so critically important for (photos? c'mon... burn a photo-CD and get it developed at the store for less money than new inkjet cartridges over time).

Why dont they get a clue. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750477)

This happened to me with my HP Business Inkjet 2200. The cartridge was reported as half full before suddenly it began to say "Cartridge Expired" and refused to print until I replaced the cartridge. Now a cartridge costs over 30 bucks each and supposedly last for about a year before it "expires" (and if they all expire at once you're looking at over 120 bucks to replace a plastic box full of ink). Well If I had known they were this grimy I would have avoided them like the plague.

I would feel better if instead of them fucking my wallet up the ass they would sell REPLACEMENT INK! Why replace the whole cartridge when all you need is liquid? Oh now I get it would be too easy for someone else to come around and give them a little competition. I liked the idea that the print heads are separate from the ink reservoir because it would make sense to fill the reservoir with ink. But no; money over common sense.
Also if you think about it is very wasteful to throw out plastic boxes just because they have no more ink in them. I know your supposed to recycle them but who really does? Sounds like they also don't give two shits about the environment either but what else is new.

can be justified (3, Interesting)

mqx (792882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750486)


If the vendor makes it clear on the product that there is an expiration date, then there would seem to be no reason that they can't also enforce it by technical measures. I mean, when you buy a one year license key for a software product, you read and agree to the license that says that it will stop working after one year. If the consumable actually says that it will expire and stop working after 2.5 years (or whatever), then that's what it'll do, and this is what you are cogniziant of when you make the transaction!

There are some complications.

Firstly, if the time-expiring consumable is tied to the product and not available from any other vendor, there may be some sort of anti-trust issue here with "product tieing"; i.e. the vendor is trying to control the market more than is allowable: this is anti-competitive.

Secondly, if there are objective reasons for time-expiring, then the vendor may be okay: for example, if it can be shown that the the quality of the ink degrades to the point that after the expiration date, it would actually cause damage to the product it is used in. In this case, the vendor is making a fair and reasonable attempt to reduce damage caused by the item, which seems fair enough. Note again, there would need to be a provable reason for this, not just some kind of marketing spin.

Thirdly, it's a free market: if one vendor wants to offer a consumable with time-expiration built in, then there's nothing stopping other vendors from offer non-expiring products. As the consumer, provided you are given the knowledge up front (i.e. product labelling), it's then your free choice about which product you want to choose. There's no reason for the government or courts to step in and regulate this behaviour.

So without knowing a lot more facts, it's hard to understand what the exact position is here.

Not a new tactic (2, Interesting)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750494)

Accuchek has been doing it for a long time with the code chips you have to put into your blood glucose monitor to identify the batch of strips being used. Go past the expiration date and the meter refuses to operate....

Running b&w only on HP printers (3, Funny)

karldavidson (187276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750500)

I used to install HP Printers twice on machines. One for B&W and a second for color. HP drivers now prevent you from printing greyscale only. I spent hours on the phone with HP support, there is no way to do it on HP's newer printers. I am sure that this is to force people to use more expensive ink.

Photosmart 7350 (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750504)

I recently bought a heavily-discounted HP Photosmart 7350 at a department store.

The reason it was cheap? It'd been sitting on the shelf for years and years...

Needless to say, both of the included print cartridges were expired.

The machine was perfectly willing to try and use them, with the only problem being that the Light Magenta color was inoperable. At no time did the printer, or its software, complain about this arrangement.

And at any rate, HP was more than willing to give me a new set of cartridges in exchange for a faxed copy of the receipt.

Non-issue, anyone?

NO INK FOR YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11750518)

Is the date, by any chance, April 1?

I can see a page count cutoff as a QC measure. No one is gonna bitch about streaky prints if the thing shuts off before it gets to the, 'I can still print but it will look like crap' stage.

Date expiration makes sense only if the ink itself is lifetimed and if this is the case should be spelled out on the package. Again, the only justification would be QC and the packaging should make this clear.

i.e.

"If you eat this fermented squid we will not be responsible."

When inkjet ink... (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11750520)

When inkjet ink cost more than Dom Perignon champagne by volume, it pays to put in date-expire logic chips in the cartridges and tell the consumers that "it's for the good of the printer heads not to be exposed to dated ink."
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