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 user 2010-05-17 at 1:45:20 pm Views: 58
  • #24000
    HP subdivides the world
    FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP seems to have figured out a novel way of extracting the maximum amount of money from punters who have been unfortunate enough to buy one of its printers.

    Not content with overcharging for ink, the printer manufacturer apparently regionalises its print cartridges, as one user found out. The unfortunate soul in question, Michelle Sullivan, bought an HP Photosmart C7180 printer Down Under but found that when she moved to Malta she was unable to purchase compatible print cartridges.

    The problem wasn’t due to anything as innocent as regional unavailability, but rather it was down to HP’s decision to create specific cartridges for different regions for the same printer.

    The surprised and shocked Ms Sullivan went to great lengths to find out whether this apparent HP policy was actually true. After questioning the main dealer for HP in Malta, who told her that ink cartridges were regionalised, Sullivan then had a chat with a HP online support agent.

    Unsurprisingly the response she received was less than helpful, with the agent suggesting that Sullivan try Bestbuy or Walmart, not realising that neither of these retailers has stores in Malta.

    HP has in the past put some rather money-grubbing restrictions on its printing products. A number of its toner cartridges had page count chips that would stop the printer after a certain number of pages had been printed, regardless of whether there was still toner left in the cartridge. For the benefit of punters’ wallets and the environment, a cottage industry flogging ‘blank’ page counting chips successfully grew out of HP’s corporate greed.

    This sorry saga has left Ms Sullivan with a six-month old printer that is effectively useless simply because she decided to move. If you’ve had similar issues with HP’s cartridge restrictions we’d love to hear them.At press time HP has yet to respond to our questions on this matter.
    HP unlocks printer regionalisation
    FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP will help one of its users who found that moving countries fell afoul of the firm’s divide and conquer strategy.

    Earlier this week, The INQUIRER reported that Michelle Sullivan wasn’t able to use her HP Photosmart C7180 printer after moving from Australia to Malta. After Ms Sullivan’s failed attempts to purchase a print cartridge for the six-month old printer failed, she then turned to HP’s support, but was told by the firm’s representatives that its print cartridges are regionalised and those on sale in Malta simply would not work with her printer.

    After that advice, first from HP’s main dealer in Malta and a botched attempt at receiving support from an HP online support contact, which the firm is now accurately describing as “bad”, Ms Sullivan was left wondering what to do with a printer that had become effectively useless.

    To HP’s credit, after reading our report and the stack of readers’ comments, the company will be getting in touch with Ms Sullivan to arrange for her printer to be reset to work in Malta.

    The firm said that any other user who crosses its printer cartridge border can have their device reset to the required locale by simply calling their local customer support centre where a representative will detail the process.

    HP said that the process of regionalising cartridges started in 2004 and that “the printers and cartridges are designed to work together in the region in which the products were designated for sale and use.” Given that the process seems fairly painless and can be done over the telephone, we’re unsure what advantages there are for the consumer with its decision to regionalise printers and cartridges.

    It seems the expensive printer ink company is perfectly willing to reset the printer’s region, if you manage to find a representative who wants to help you.

    Thanks to The INQUIRER and its readers, Ms Sullivan won’t have to throw away her HP printer just yet.