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 user 2010-05-17 at 1:46:04 pm Views: 86
  • #24222
    HP subdivides the world
    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

    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
    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.

    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

    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

    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.