HP Playing Dirty Tricks?
I've used replacement inkjet cartridges from third-party vendors for years; they've always worked fine and cost a fraction of the price for brand-name (OEM) cartridges. But two days ago, my HP 8610 suddenly informed me that ALL of my inkjet cartridges “appear to be damaged,” and I can't print at all. Read on for the real story, which will likely make you mad...
Is It Safe to Use Inkjet Refills?
The message that popped up on my printer's display said "One or more cartridges appear to be damaged. Remove them and replace with new cartridges." No, they're not. It's my printer that's “damaged” by a firmware update that HP pushed on me. I can't print anything because my perfectly good cartridges, with plenty of ink, are rejected by my printer. I couldn't find any way to reset the printer or roll back the update.
SEE UPDATE BELOW... THERE IS A FIX!
So I contacted LD Products, the company I always use for my cartridges. Fortunately they said, "We know what happened" and they're sending me replacements at no charge. At least THEY are doing the right thing. The issue is not just “non-HP” or refilled cartridges. Other customers who use only “new and genuine HP” cartridges have been reporting the same problem I have within the past month on the HP Support Forum.
The problem is not defective or improperly installed cartridges, either, at least not in my case. My cartridges worked one day, but did not work the next after the firmware update. I didn’t touch them in between. So HP support’s standard response to complaints about “missing or damaged cartridge” error messages is a waste of time. I tried various tips and tricks that were supposed to reset the printer or solve the problem, to no avail. (There was one that involved sacrificing a chicken under a full moon, but I opted not to try that.) Actually, I have never seen a problem reported “solved” by an HP support rep in the HP Support Forum. Great job, folks.
There's a setting on the printer to allow automatic updates, but mine is turned off. But I do recall getting a message from HP that I needed an important update to enable some exciting feature on my printer. That must have been when they snuck in that firmware update which borked my printer.
HP's "Chief Inkologist" has publicly stated that "HP Inc never prevents a customer from using a refill or remanufactured cartridge because we believe in fair competition." But that doesn't ring true. When I spoke with the rep for LD Products, she knew right away what the problem was, and told me that an HP firmware update had caused the problem.
Punished for Buying the Wrong Parts?
Apparently, HP cartridges that are "Generation 1" or "Generation 2" will no longer work if this update hits your printer. You'll need a Generation 3 cartridge. Unfortunately, there's no obvious marking on the cartridge to indicate which generation they are. When this message about "damaged cartridges" appears on the printer, you'll also get a popup on your screen, advising you to replace them with genuine HP cartridges, and a convenient link to purchase them. I can't prove that HP did this intentionally. I suppose it's possible that this firmware update was meant to solve some problem, and just coincidentally "damaged" all these refilled or third-party cartridges. But I doubt it. If that was the case, HP would have pushed out another update to fix the problem, right?
To me, this is akin to a car manufacturer remotely disabling your vehicle if you have repairs done using parts that are not "genuine" or "approved" by the manufacturer. Can you imagine seeing this on your dashboard, after installing a third-party oil filter? "A damaged or defective oil filter was detected. Proceed immediately to your nearest Ford dealer and replace it with a genuine Motorcraft brand filter."
My friend with an HP B209a reports past issues with “missing or damaged (or “incompatible”) cartridges were solved by doing nothing. He just got along without a printer for a few days, weeks, or even months, then tried again and… the darned thing worked. There is no logical explanation for the changes in the printer’s behavior; at least, none that HP is revealing. There may have been a firmware patch that happened while he wasn’t looking.
Do You Really Need a Printer?
It really isn’t hard for most home users to do without a printer indefinitely. Even business users can dramatically reduce their printing needs, as I explained in Save Time and Money With Alternatives to Printing. Someone needs to remind HP and all other printer makers of that fact. We don’t need your products, so if they don’t work, or if you treat us unfairly, we won’t buy them!
Printers should not be such a chronic source of suffering and frustration; they should just work, like a mouse. In their never-ending battle against cheap aftermarket cartridges, vendors have completely abandoned customer satisfaction in favor of market share protection. Printers are over-engineered, fragile, and largely superfluous products. That may be one reason why HP recently announced it’s speeding up the layoffs of over 3,000 employees.
Have you had trouble with third-party or refilled cartridges suddenly not working? It might have been the result of a sneaky software update pushed by the manufacturer. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Mar 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- HP Playing Dirty Tricks? (Posted: 18 Mar 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved