Italian regulator AGCM has fined HP Inc and HP Italy a total of €10 million for using “misleading and aggressive” practices to limit the use of non-original cartridges in its printers.
The consumer protection watchdog accused HP Inc and HP Italy of imposing significant restrictions on the use of non-original ink and toner cartridges in many of their inkjet and laser printers.
It found that HP had for several years been using printer firmware to prevent the use of non-original cartridges, to deny assistance for printers who have used non-original cartridges and to gather data without customer consent.
The AGCM has given HP 60 days to submit a report on steps taken to comply with the order, and 120 days to change sales packages to indicate restrictions on non-original cartridges and toners.
The penalty was welcomed by the European Toner & Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA). ”For way too long, printer manufacturers like HP have used software updates as a way to prevent consumers to buy environment-friendly reuse cartridges instead of only expensive original cartridges, making the “Reuse experience“ a nightmare that many times was blamed on product quality something completely wrong as many print quality tests confirm,” said ETIRA president Javier Martinez.
“It is unacceptable that when you buy a HP printer, you are basically tied in to buying only HP cartridges,” he said. “Many end users prefer remanufactured cartridges and want to save 45-60% in CO2 emissions and natural resources like oil and aluminium. Printer manufacturers should allow for this by ensuring that all printers accept remanufactured OEM cartridges, and design their cartridges in such a way that they can be easily reused again and again. Hopefully, the fine issued by the Italian competition watchdog will bring about a change in the market behaviour of printer manufacturers, both in Italy and the EU as a whole.”