Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Reason To Hate Printers

Ok, regular readers know of my sheer hatred for printer manufacturers.

Well last night I was trying to print something when the paper jammed. To clear the jam you have to open the top of the printer, which it detects.

So I open the top, clear the jam, drop the lid down which makes the printer automatically go into a ‘clean’ cycle. This pisses me off to begin with…and then the printer stars beeping at me.

“Black Ink Almost Empty” it says.

Bull…Shit. I reply.

You see, I checked the ink levels before I started printing. It was showing the black cartridge as half full. Just to make doubly sure, I open the top again and pop out the black cartridge.

Not only is it not ‘nearly empty’…it’s damn near full. One side of the cartridge is clear and I can see a ton of ink in there.

So I put the cartridge back in…and start grinding my teeth when it cleans itself again. While I’m waiting for it to finish, I put the print job in the queue.

The printer finishes ‘cleaning’ (read : Pointlessly wasting ink)…and then it beeps at me again. The readout on the front of the printer says:

‘Black Ink Empty…Replace Cartridge.’

Then, just because it can probably sense that the vein in my forehead is about to pop, it flashes up

‘Magenta Nearly Empty’

So, basically I’m tired of getting screwed over. I’m tired of spending sixty bucks on a cartridge that only uses less than a third of its ink…especially when the leaflet that comes with the ink basically tries to guilt me about ‘being green’ and tells me it’s my responsibility to return the cartridge to the manufacturer at my own expense.

Yeah, that’ll happen. I’ll spent $60 on two teaspoons of black ink, print about five pages, and then send the half-full cartridge back to them so they can refill it and sell it to me again.

So I decide that there just has to be a hack somewhere. Something I can do to ‘trick’ the printer into actually letting me use the ink I’ve paid for…you know, like printers did ten years ago when they printed until the ink actually ran out.

So I jump on google and start searching. I didn’t find a hack, but I did find the following little bit of information.

Hewlett Packard is currently being sued because a hacker discovered that HP ink cartridges come with an built-in ‘expiry date’ that’s not mentioned anywhere in the printer or cartridges literature.

Let me just spell this out in case you’re not getting it yet.

HP ink cartridges are actually programmed to tell you that they’re empty a set amount of time after you install them, regardless of how much ink is actually left in them.

This has nothing to do with print quality (it’s not like the ink goes bad or anything), or even remotely ‘disguised’ as a feature. It’s nothing more that an extremely dishonest way of making you buy more ink.

So let’s just recap.

Printer Ink costs over $8000 a gallon.

They program their printers to regularly waste ink under the guise of ‘cleaning’.

Their cartridges are chipped, preventing you from filling them yourself.

These chipped cartridges report they are empty when they’re still at least a third full.

Printers refuse to print at all when one color is empty, even if you want to print black and white and have a full black cartridge.

…and if that wasn’t enough, they now ‘expire’ at a preset date regardless of how much ink is left.

To put this into perspective, that’s like owning a car that only runs on one extremely expensive brand of gas. It would leak 10% of the gas onto the floor every time you started the engine. It would refuse to start when you got down to half a tank (and force you to drain every last drop of gas still in the tank before refilling…and if you filled your tank and left it in the drive for a week, it would refuse to start and say the tank was empty when you went to start it.

Is anyone else as pissed as I am about this?


OzzyC said...

First... printing costs don't bother me much, because I don't print often. That said, I haven't had your bad luck with printers.

I had an HP deskjet 712 -- the first printer considered photo quality. I bought the thing about ten years ago, and it served as my primary printer until just a few weeks ago.

My next printer was a canon, which I bought about three years ago to print wedding photos. Printing photographs had come a long way in the seven or eight years since buying my deskjet. This one also performed well, and this one also was given away.

My most recent printer is nice... combination scanner/printer/copier/fax. It's also wireless. I bought this one because my old scanner broke, and it was as cheap to buy this as it was to buy a separate scanner.

By the way, I gave the old printers to Goodwill, in the hope that a flood-displaced family can use them.

Sunny said...

Yes I am- I know how LITTLE we use our printer to conserve on costs around here. For them to do that just burns my ass.

Do all companies do this or is it just HP?

And is that lawsuit a class action?