HP will pay customers for blocking non-HP ink cartridges in EU

HP printer owners forced to use non-HP ink and toner cartridges in Europe will receive compensation from the vendor for not adequately informing them about the limitations of the devices they bought.

The problem stems from the introduction of a system called ‘Dynamic Security,’ which HP promoted to its customers as a way to upgrade their experience and maintain the integrity of its printing systems.

The issue with Dynamic Security was that it made any ink cartridges sold by third-party vendors which didn’t have an HP chip or electronic circuitry impossible to use with the printers.

Error displayed to impacted printer owners
Error displayed to impacted printer owners (HP)

Hence, customers who bought a printer with the security system enabled, or applied the firmware update that introduced Dynamic Security, essentially degraded their devices’ printing capabilities without knowing it.

Lawsuit settled

HP responded to the outcry by releasing a new firmware upgrade that removed the Dynamic Security feature from many models impacted by the problem.

However, in the meantime, owners of the printers had suffered from the extended downtime and additional costs, so many sought to take legal action, with Euroconsumers, an EU consumer’s rights organization, leading the effort in the representations for ‘PrinterGate’ in Europe.

In the U.S., HP reached a settlement agreement recently for a total amount of $1,500,000 and up to $150 per plaintiff.

Euroconsumers announced last week that they also reached a settlement where HP would compensate printer owners impacted by the Dynamic Security system.

“Under the agreement reached between HP and Euroconsumers, HP has agreed to establish a fund of up to USD 1,350,000 for payment of compensation to certain HP printer owners for losses allegedly suffered as a consequence of being unaware that their printers were enabled with Dynamic Security, which would limit their printers’ functionality when using third party cartridges with non-HP chips or circuitry.” – Euroconsumers.

The settlement agreement isn’t an acknowledgment of any wrongdoing by HP nor of Euroconsumers making baseless claims, highlights the announcement.

However, it is important to mention that the settlement has resulted in lower payments than the initial goal.

Who is eligible for compensation

The settlement compensation will be made available to consumers in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, but more European countries may follow in the future.

The beneficiaries must own or have owned an HP printer of the OfficeJet Pro or the PageWide Pro lines between September 1, 2016, and November 17, 2022, with specific model numbers listed in this document.

Eligible owners may fill out the claim form until March 6, 2023, on the dedicated national portals (Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal).

Depending on the printer model used, consumers will receive a flat settlement compensation between 20€ and 50€. In addition, an additional 45€ will be awarded to those who provide evidence of specific losses beyond the settlement compensation amount.