Last week it was reported that many HP printers with third-party ink cartridges displayed error messages such as "cartridge problem", "one or more cartridges are missing or damaged" or "older generation cartridge" following a firmware update issued by the printer giant.
Choice head of media Tom Godfrey says the group is concerned that HP is “throwing its weight around in order to lock consumers into buying its expensive ink, taking away consumer choice and treating its customers terribly”.
In particular, Choice is assessing whether HP may have misled or deceived their customers under section 18 of the consumer law.
“After years of being able to use non-HP ink, consumers have a reasonable expectation that they will be able to continue to choose which ink they will use.
“HP ink, at $5128 per litre, already costs substantially more than luxury goods like Chanel No 5 perfume, which is a comparative steal at $3514 per litre.
“Consumers are already being asked to pay exorbitant prices for HP ink, and now the company is reportedly cutting off consumer access to cheaper competitors.
“In short, consumers were sold a product on one basis, and now HP has substantially changed the way its product operates through a behind-the-scenes firmware update.”