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HP granted permission to sell printers with start-up cartridges

January 23, 2013

gavel2Indian Consumer court rules that supplying an introductory cartridge is not “unfair trade practice”, overturning earlier order.

Mid Day reports that HP is now allowed to supply its printers with start-up cartridges filled with just three millilitres of ink thanks to a bench of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, comprising of Presiding Member S R Khanzode and Member Narendra Kawde, who assert that selling a start-up cartridge with less ink than a standard cartridge is not classed as “unfair trade practise.

The ruling comes after a previous order from a lower court, the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which forced HP to pay Rs 650 ($12/€9) towards the cost of a standard cartridge along with Rs 10,000 ($186/€140) as compensation to 68-year old HP customer Rajan Alimchandandani, who took his case to court in 2007 after claiming that he was only able to print 22 pages before the cartridge ran out and that he was unaware that the OEM supplied start-up cartridges in its new printers.

Furthermore, the forum had ordered that HP was to discontinue the practice of supplying start-up cartridges with their printers and provide regular cartridges instead.

However, after allowing HP to appeal against the order, the court ruled in the OEM’s favour, stating: “The list of contents on the packing of the new printer cum copier, etc. clearly mentions the supply of [an] introductory cartridge containing three millilitres of ink and this introductory cartridge was duly supplied. Therefore, it is not that something misleading is represented to the complainant to induce him to buy the product.”

Alimchandani, however, still feels that he was misled by HP, commenting: “After the court order, all of HP’s newspaper advertisements clearly stated that they were supplying start-up cartridges with their printers. Had I known this fact at the time of making the purchase, I would have opted for something else. Nowhere in their printers brochures was it mentioned that the device came with a start-up cartridge.”

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