“HP pre-programmed failure date of unofficial/ non-HP ink cartridges in its printers”

Posted 16 September 2016 19:20 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Investigation of an online printer ink retailer shows that HP has programmed a date in its printer firmware on which unofficial non-HP cartridges would fail. Thousands of HP printers around the world started to show error messages on the same day, the 13th of September 2016.

myce-hp-error-message

On that date HP printers with non-HP cartridges started to show the error message, “One or more cartridges appear to be damaged. Remove them and replace them with new cartridges“. On HP’s support forums numerous complaints were posted and Dutch online retailer 123inkt also received a large amount of complaints on that day and decided to investigate the issue.

After an investigation on their test printers they found a large scale issue with their private label brand cartridges with several HP printers. When they emailed their customers asking them if they wanted to check if their printer also had issues, they received replies from more than 1,000 customers confirming the issue.

Further investigation with many printer models showed the issue resided in the firmware of the printers and 123inkt.nl contacted HP about the issue. HP stated it wasn’t aware of the issue. Consumers who complained to HP were told the error was caused by using  non-HP cartridges. A day later HP withdrew that statement and explained the issues were a side effect of an firmware update.

However, the company didn’t release a firmware update at any date near the 13th of September. The printers with issues received a firmware update in March 2016 for the last time, and that firmware was developed in 2015. Also printers with firmware released before March 2016 suffered from the issue and even worse, also printers without any internet access started to reject non-HP cartridges.

Therefore it’s very unlikely that a firmware update caused the issues and the only other logical explanation is that HP programmed a date in its firmware on which non-HP cartridges would no longer be accepted.

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When 123inkt contacted the supplier of their private label cartridges, they also confirmed the issue. The private label supplier started to work on a solution and for several HP printers they developed new chips which are currently in production.

On its website 123inkt concludes, “This problem is not unique. Printer manufacturers regularly release firmware updates which are said to enhance the printer’s performance or address security issues. The (un) intended result, however, is that the use of cheaper private label cartridges is made difficult and / or that error messages are caused. This time the problem was not the result of an update to improve the operation of the printer, but HP apparently programmed a date in its firmware on which the issues should start, the September 13, 2016.”

Update 1: HP officially responds to pre-programmed failure date of non-HP cartridges

Update 2: Online retailer wants to claim damages from HP for not allowing use of non-HP ink cartridges

Update 3: New “security” chips in the works that make HP printers accept non-HP cartridges again

Update 4: HP admits rejecting non-HP ink cartridges was deliberate and planned for – won’t release fix

29th of September, two weeks later, after a lot of press attention:

Update 5: HP apologizes for rejecting non-HP cartridges and is working on a firmware update

A temporarily workaround is flashing firmware from 2014 but, according to 123inkt, this can’t be easily performed by regular consumers. The retailer calls for HP to at least make the old firmware available to its customers.

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CDan
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 17:50
The end result should be a huge increase in HP printers ending up in the dump.
34 Agree

UTR
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 18:03
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDan
The end result should be a huge increase in HP printers ending up in the dump.
....and the replacements for them will not sport the hp brand.
22 Agree

DrageMester
Retired Moderator
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 18:40
Isn't this the sort of anti-competitive practices that e.g. the FTC and EU should be looking into?
33 Agree

CDan
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 19:18
Printer makers have been chipping ink for many years to prevent use of compatibles. This was a bit more sneaky but is no different. They never sold them promising compatibility with generics.
4 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 19:32
In the Volkswagen scandal, cars still drive as usual and people can fill up at any gas station... If this HP case is true, this seems to be even worse, some people would perhaps even call it sabotage-software for cartridges. Like if an owner of a Volkswagen could drive his car, but only after buying Volkswagen fuel... Would people and EU Commission and FTC accept that?! So the question is: will HP get away with this worldwide?
9 Agree

DrageMester
Retired Moderator
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 20:53
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDan
They never sold them promising compatibility with generics.
Not promising compatibility and deliberately sabotaging competing consumables are two entirely different things.
21 Agree

MrScary
MyCE Senior Member
Posted on: 16 Sep 16 21:23
YEP! They'll get away with it along with Epson. RIP OFF Merchants..
2 Agree

UTR
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 17 Sep 16 00:29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDan
Printer makers have been chipping ink for many years to prevent use of compatibles. This was a bit more sneaky but is no different. They never sold them promising compatibility with generics.
They probably never sold them saying the owner would be forced to use only hp branded cartridges.
5 Agree

TSJnachos117
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 17 Sep 16 02:05
No one is going to bust HP. Governments frequently take the side of large corporations over everyone else. After all, where else would those running said governments get their bribe money? If some small corporations, or better yet, an individual, does some bad thing, government enforcement agencies are all over it, especially if the crime negatively impacts big businesses. However, if HP puts several ink manufacturers out of business, screwing over their customers in the process, nothing happens at all.
9 Agree

Dartman
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 17 Sep 16 18:50
Well I used and loved my OLD HP 990 from about 90 to just now. Carts were HUGE and it usually took the generics fine too. Very advanced and quite capable straight printer that still prints great today.
My problem has been the generic rebuilt carts have been garbage lately and original OEM carts are usually hard to find and expensive.
I finally bought a expired one that at first wouldn't print one color but did after I forcibly primed it through the fill plug for the bad color and it prints OK with a occasion re prime or cleaning.
I finally upgraded to a Epson WorkForce all in one 3640. It does everything from auto duplex, fax, and auto feed double sided? scanner.
Of course the starter carts are small and I had to tweak the print settings to get it to look good like my 990 but now it prints great and fast. Pretty sure there are generic carts for it and the OEM ones are spendy but not outrageous if you know where to buy.
I'm really liking the full network support and being able to print from my phone or tablet to it too.
Sounds like HP has gone away from their original heavy duty excellent printers for mostly consumer grade crap with all kinds of locks to limit what carts and things will work with them to force you to buy their also over priced ink.
The 990 even auto alignes the heads when you install a new one, Epson still doesn't do that and not sure if any of their printers do. Of course I don't think most of the newer small cart HP printers do that now either.
1 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 18 Sep 16 12:04
New reports on the HP cartridges story. About the cartridge sabotage software or, if people feel it should not be called sabotage, it could also be called pre-programmed cartridges-blocking software. Interesting new move: after the first reactions of Dutch HP Customer Service employees speaking about an awful mistake that would be repaired as soon as possible, now it seems that HP is trying to create some sort of legal way out.
2 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 18 Sep 16 12:09
NOS Dutch national TV: http://nos.nl/artikel/2132765-hp-bev...tpatronen.html . Technical details and some extra explanation of what is going on: http://www.123inkt.nl/news/Persberic...nters-589.html ...Google translate is a must :-)
1 Agree

Dartman
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 18 Sep 16 20:12
SO, wonder if you can either disable firmware updates or just flash back to the earlier version that doesn't have the shutoff code built in?
Haven't read the latest links but that would be something most of us would try if a firmware messed something up.
0 Agree

Albert
Senior Moderator
Posted on: 18 Sep 16 20:36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartman
SO, wonder if you can either disable firmware updates or just flash back to the earlier version that doesn't have the shutoff code built in?
Haven't read the latest links but that would be something most of us would try if a firmware messed something up.
The article alludes to the idea that even printers on their original FW are affected. That's not to say that there wasn't an earlier version which didn't implement the lockout, but it sounds unlikely if what's said here is true.
1 Agree

jeffreyp
MyCE Rookie
Posted on: 18 Sep 16 23:22
Printers are cheap. We all know Epson, HP etc make their money off cartridges and not necessarily from the sale of their printers. Manufacturers seek money for their ink. "We will charge you what we to if want to keep to keep your printer up and running."
Cost me $100.00 to keep my Epson XP-820 chugging along. Even with their Xtra big cartridges it's still a huge ripoff. I flip them the bird, but what can I do?
1 Agree

CDan
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 19 Sep 16 03:19
^^^
Ditto, the printer is cheap and disposable, anyone using HP can get a new printer - complete with ink - for less than the cost of a set of OEM HP tanks. How is that a difficult decision?
2 Agree

alan1476
Administrator, Software Editor and Head of Promotions
Posted on: 19 Sep 16 12:53
Canon is doing the same thing.
0 Agree

biggles77
MyCE Junior Member
Posted on: 19 Sep 16 13:09
In 1993 I purchased an HP550 Deskjet. It was one of the first inkjet printers that held a black AND colour cartridge and it printed really nicely. I became an HP fanboi even though the printer cost $1,800 and the cartridges a measly $15 each. I had HP machines everywhere and recommended them to friends and customers. Hell, I still remember the local HP Helpdesk number 131 047 and those guys were brilliant. The HP website was IMO one of the easiest to navigate and find drivers for their products at the time.

Now, I would not touch an HP product even if they were giving them away with a 3 year warranty. Their reputation and product quality went downhill so fast that they lost me in less than 6 months. The only HP product I have left is a 2005 iPAQ PDA because it has a good bowling game on it. Now I will only purchase devices that have 3, or 2 years warranty if I absolutely need it now and I don't believe HP have ever had a more than 1 year warranty without paying a kings ransom for extended warranty. A client had an HP LC3 NetServer in 2001 that cost $5,500 (PII 400, 64MB RAM, 4GB HDD) and they wanted $160 for a 3.5" Floppy Drive. I would rather a Greyware Server than something with an HP badge now.

The HP executive must were armoured footwear as they are always shooting themselves in the foot but still manage to keep walking.

[/rant off]
0 Agree

Matth
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 20 Sep 16 20:57
With EPSON promoting their "Ecotank" range, maybe the writing is on the wall for high priced limited capacity cartridges
1 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 21 Sep 16 16:16
Australia today, The Sydney Morning Herald: consumer advocacy group Choice says it will begin investigating whether HP has breached Australian Consumer Law section 18.

Choice is concerned that HP is locking customers into buying only its expensive ink. Consumers have long opted to use unbranded ink cartridges as they are far cheaper than the official ones. Throughout the years people know that the cost of replacing cartridges can quickly surpass the cost of the printer.

"Even worse, it's doing this after consumers have already bought the product, meaning they haven't given their customers the opportunity to vote with their wallets and buy a different printer," according to Tom Godfrey, spokesman.

"If consumers bought an HP printer relying on the fact that it could use non-HP ink, and HP has unilaterally taken that functionality away, then there is a risk that the company is breaching consumer law."
In particular, Choice is assessing whether HP may have misled or deceived their customers under section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law.

"After years of being able to use non-HP ink, consumers have a reasonable expectation that they will be able to continue to choose which ink they will use," he says.

The Sydney Morning Herald also mentions there are signs that HP has been deleting posts and replies about the error messages in a possible act of covering up the extent of the customer outrage. So far HP Australia has not responded to Fairfax Media's request for comment.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consu...21-grl6ea.html
0 Agree

MacGregor1
New Member
Posted on: 21 Sep 16 18:10
Found the easiest solution to push the Downgrade to the OfficeJet Pro 6230 (and any other OfficeJet printer) and it worked.
The FW Version is now 1517 (May2016), but it won't help the problem with refused 3rd party cardridges.
The Method:
1) Extract the OJ6230_R1517A.exe
2) Rename agave_pp_usr_hf_AGP1FN1517AR_update_from_1422A_signed.ful to fw.ful
3) Place fw.ful to c:
4) Open Command and enter copy /b c:fw.ful \your computernameprinter sharename
For printer sharename use the name under which the printer is shared in windows. I renamed my printer to "6230" in windows, gives less typing...
5) After the command, the printer does some blinking and restarts.
6) Downgrade from 1544 to 1517 done.
7) If you have e-printing enabled, don't forget to switch automatic updates off.

Now, the only thing I still need is a .ful file or an Update.exe, that is dated earlier.
There are FWs from 2014 named AGP1FN1432AR, AGP1FN1423AR, AGP1FN1422AR
but i can not find them... Please help.
1 Agree

Dartman
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 24 Sep 16 20:16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matth
With EPSON promoting their "Ecotank" range, maybe the writing is on the wall for high priced limited capacity cartridges
I looked at that printer at Costco, looks like a excellent printer but for 450 bucks Costco price it better be. I decided to buy mine because it was 94 bucks outright and does everything I need. I can even clear my desk of my old scanner as this one is better and auto feeds and even scans double sided and the prints look just fine, either text or glossy photos and it's quick.
Many printers you can get kits to convert them to ink tanks but I figured I don't print enough to deal with modifying whatever printer I use to take a tank and WAS doing refillable carts with my R200 and 220 but the heads kept clogging and then we were given a R260 with extra carts do gave up on those for now.
I think if you do a LOT of printing and especially if after market but same quality ink comes out for those might be a great solution for some users.
They only had the one top line printer at Costco plus my 3640 so have no clue if they now have a more affordable ink tank model but if they do might be worth checking out again for regular users.
0 Agree

Jimez
New Member
Posted on: 26 Sep 16 01:31
I did this with my 8620 and it is printing again. You will have to translate the page. You will also need to go into HP Update>settings and select never update. I don't know if this opens you to viruses or if you lose some functionality of your printer but all I want out of mine is that it prints when I want it to. http://www.123inkt.nl/page/hp_firmware.html Could someone tell me if there is any danger doing this?
0 Agree

Xercus
Moderator
Posted on: 26 Sep 16 05:48
Welcome to the forum Jimez

I did translate it to English.

I don't have your printer and so this will be general...
It seems to be an older or a custom firmware update and apart from if the most recent update contains more functionality, you should not loose functionality.

As for 'Never update', that would depend if it is only the printer and not the computer (applies only if your computer is HP as well). Isolated for your printer, I will say no, there is no danger doing so unless you have printing from the internet enabled (given that function is found in your printer in which case my clear advice is to disable it).
If your computer is HP and you have turned off HP updates globally (printer and computer), I would still say no as long as you remember to update the computer from the HP support download page. I always uninstall such vendor specific system update utilities as part of the initial installation myself and so would not know anything about their functionality.
0 Agree

Wombler
Administrator & Reviewer
Posted on: 26 Sep 16 12:37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrageMester
Isn't this the sort of anti-competitive practices that e.g. the FTC and EU should be looking into?
Yes, it's scandalous and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.

Pretty much selling printers in the knowledge that users would be forced to use HP supplies at a later date.

Deceptive in the extreme.


Wombler
0 Agree

Jimez
New Member
Posted on: 26 Sep 16 13:09
Thanks Xercus. I should have made it clear that I turned off auto update on the printer only. I will also turn off printing from the internet.
0 Agree

Xercus
Moderator
Posted on: 26 Sep 16 13:22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombler
Yes, it's scandalous and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.

Pretty much selling printers in the knowledge that users would be forced to use HP supplies at a later date.

Deceptive in the extreme.


Wombler
like I answered Alan here, even if this is going to rise the price for printers like Alan says, then so be it. I rather have two honest businesses than one dishonest.
0 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 28 Sep 16 15:55
Very strong EFF document. The letter of Cory Doctorow to Dion Weisler of HP. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/0...cting-printers.
0 Agree

NET45
New Member
Posted on: 29 Sep 16 15:32
HP blog today: “We should have done a better job of communicating about the authentication procedure to customers, and we apologize. Although only a small number of customers have been affected, one customer who has a poor experience is one too many.”

HP is using the embedded ‘sorry-technique’. The words are there. But it is not 100% pure. Why?

Because if you read HP’s blog of Jon Flaxman carefully, he is (mis)using the blog and the hidden apologies to underline HP’s policy and goals. It shows again and again HP does not understand the real issue of millions of users and product-owners as explained by EFF, Cory Doctorow.

“As a remedy for the small number of affected customers, we will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks".

This first gesture is weak and just for now. The problem isn’t over. It just started. Many people worldwide bought new (original) cartridges for their personal printer due to the sabotage of HP. And the new bought cartridges will last for a while in most cases.

The real issue: many brains of near-future ink consumers worldwide (many people only read headlines) have been infected since September 13th. In many brains it will be quite simple: oh yeah, my printer might not work properly if I buy non-hp. People tend to avoid problems and an increased number of people will buy original. Simple. HP is happy and looking at it’s increase in sales…worldwide.

The question remains: will HP get away with it? Or will there be lawyers in the US or elsewhere around the world that will have the guts and claim. And last but not least: will people and businesses have the guts to move on to other brands that honestly and 24 hours a day respect ownership, rights and freedom of customers?
0 Agree

bean55
Moderator
Posted on: 29 Sep 16 15:39
Quote:
The question remains: will HP get away with it? Or will there be lawyers in the US or elsewhere around the world that will have the guts and claim. And last but not least: will people and businesses have the guts to move on to other brands that honestly and 24 hours a day respect ownership, rights and freedom of customers?
The real question is: How many others are doing it and have not got caught yet ?
There cut off date is not here yet ?
2 Agree

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