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HP Instant Ink – A curse and a blessing at the same time

HP Instant Ink – A curse and a blessing at the same time

September 1, 2021

Daniel Orth

Tonerdumping CEO, Daniel Orth takes a look at the HP Instant Ink programme.

The Tonerdumping CEO, Daniel Orth blogged recently about HP Instant Ink and how it works. We have translated his blog and reproduced it here.

First of all, when I write about Instant Ink here, I am biased. Instant Ink is a subscription model in which HP concludes a deal directly with its end customers. A reseller does not need HP in this store, nor does the end customer need it.

Nevertheless, I try to approach this topic as objectively as possible and put myself in the position of the end customer. And I’m trying to answer the question…

HOW DOES HP INSTANT INK WORK?

In addition, a second disclaimer: the tariffs we describe here refer to the status of August 2021. HP sometimes likes to change its tariffs for new customers. In the past, there was even a tariff for 0 € if you print up to 10 pages per month. Probably this option has become too expensive for HP.

HP promises huge cost savings with Instant Ink

In principle, it works like Netflix. You don’t pay for every movie you watch, but a monthly fee. And with HP, you no longer pay for your printer cartridges, but a monthly fee that depends on the tariff level you book. HP delivers the cartridges when the printer reports to HP that it will soon be empty. So the customer does not have to worry about anything. HP also picks up the old cartridge and recycles it.

HOW MUCH DOES HP INSTANT INK COST?

At the moment there are 5 price levels:

15 pages
per month
50 pages
per month
100 pages
per month
300 pages
per month
700 pages
per month
€ 0.99
per month
€ 2.99
per month
€ 4.99
per month
€ 11.99
per month
€ 24.99
per month

The current Instant Ink tariffs (as of August 2021)

AND IF I SUDDENLY WANT TO PRINT MORE?

Then it will be very, very expensive. An additional quota of 10 pages then costs one euro. Only in the highest tariff level (700 pages for 24.99 €) you get 15 pages for the additional euro.

Example: If you have booked 15 pages for 0.99 € and unfortunately print 50 pages, you pay €4.99 at once instead of €0.99. For this, you could also have got the 100-page quota. So if you can’t predict how much to print, Instant Ink can become a cost trap. Conversely, this is the profit for HP. HP hopes that its customers will forget the ink subscription and occasionally beat the rigour when printing. In addition, the amount is automatically debited from the account – unless you buy an instant ink prepaid card from the merchant. Which dealer should sell this? At least from the dealer’s point of view, this makes no sense.

Why should resellers support a subscription that keeps the customer away from his store?

CAN I TRANSFER THE UNUSED PAGES TO THE NEXT MONTH?

According to the HP website, up to three unused pages can be moved to the next month.

Example: You book 100 pages per month. But you only print 50. Then you can print 150 pages next month. However: You will never get your unprinted pages refunded, but can only move them backwards. So if you print too little permanently, you should change your tariff. This is the second cost trap: Customers who permanently print less than they should also pay on it.

WHO IS HP INSTANT INK FOR AND WHO IS IT A COST FOR?

If you know exactly how many pages will be printed next month beforehand, Instant Ink is a saving compared to the purchase of HP original cartridges. In this case, the advertising promises, in which HP promises savings of up to 70 percent, are then correct. But who can estimate their ink consumption so precisely? And do you want to plan this exactly in advance? Those who print more or less have hardly any savings. 10 pages cost 0.99 €.

If you print 11 pages, you pay more than twice as much: €1.99. Or if you have booked 100 pages but permanently print only 10 pages per month, you will always pay 4.99 for your 10 pages.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SUBSCRIPTION IS CANCELED?

If you are fed up and don’t feel like constantly monitoring your ink consumption, you may decide to cancel the subscription. And that doesn’t seem to be a problem either. After all, one does not commit to a longer term.

The subscription can be cancelled monthly. Once HP learns of the cancellation, the special instant ink printer cartridge in the printer no longer works. After all, you don’t buy printer cartridges with your subscription. The printer cartridges are the property of HP.

So if you want to cancel your subscription, you should buy a new set of printer cartridges in the store beforehand so that you do not experience any nasty surprises. Since the HP printer inquires before every print job over the Internet whether the subscription is still active with HP, a constant Internet connection is required for printing. You should also keep this in mind before deciding on this subscription. If the Internet fails, the instant ink printer will not work either.

WHAT HAPPENS IF HP CAN’T DELIVER THE INK?

Over the past 2 years, we have repeatedly had to deal with the fact that HP could not deliver the printer cartridges for its top racers [in German]. Demand was simply too high because many customers had activated their private printers for home office or home schooling and needed ink supplies for this. But what happens if the Instant Ink customer needs a new cartridge and HP does not deliver on time? Has this ever happened to you as an instant ink customer? If so, please write this to us in the comments.

 

Daniel Orth is the founder of Tonerdumping and still Managing Partner of Tonerdumping Orth & Baer GmbH together with Friedbert Baer.

 

Categories : World Focus

Tags : Daniel Orth HP Instant Ink Tonerdumping

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