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HP inkjet cartridges have built-in expiry dates

Carly's cunning consumable plan
Tue Apr 29 2003, 17:20
PRINTER GIANT HP has built in time limits for its inkjet printer cartridges which means machines may stop working even if the consumable has 75% ink let to go.

A corporate user who has an HP BusinessJet 2200C, an expensive model with separate ink catridges and printer heads for black and CYM, said his printer stopped working earlier this week with the message: "Cyan Ink Cartridge has expired".

And that has led to the discovery that the only fix for this cunning consumables plan is to either set systems to dates in the past or, you guessed it, go change the cartridge or buy a new one.

HP has told him that the date printed on the ink cartridge is not the expiry date, and that is determined either by a cartridge being in the printer for 30 months, or the cartridge is 4.5 years old, whichever comes first.

The date on the cartridge, which you'd every reason to think was the expiry date if you didn't know, is 2.5 years after it was manufactured.

There are oblique references to this on the HP site. On this page, for example, one message runs "Cart near expiry". HP attempts to explain this away by saying "nearly expired" cartridges don't give "optimum" printer quality. They do, however, give optimum profits on the consumables.

As the corporate sys admin points out, organisations like his buy cartridges in quantity for discounts, with unused ones being stored.

He told the INQUIRER: "I just cannot believe this. The cartridge is still 50 per cent full, and HP wants me to throw it away. That's a new way of making money. But only short term. We bought the cartridge because we needed the printer to work". But, he added, after he reported this to his boss, the firm has decided to buy Lexmark printers in the future. We think some of those may have a similar mechanism too, however. µ


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