May 4, 2021
Brussels-based Euroconsumers is seeking €150 ($180)compensation from HP Inc. (HP) as damages for consumers based in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Brazil for the failed compatibility of its printers with third-party cartridges. Euroconsumers also asks HP to immediately stop this misleading, detrimental and anticompetitive practice.
The claim follows on from last November’s €10 million ($12 million) sanction on HP by the Italian Antitrust Authority concluded HP is liable for the same charges. The Italian decision is derived from the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC) and could lead to similar charges in other European countries. You can read the story here.
According to Euroconsumers HP has recently reached a settlement in the United States over similar claims, agreeing to compensate each plaintiff with $100-150 (€83-120)for a total amount of $1,5 million (€1.24 million).
Commenting further, Euroconsumers said: “Since at least the end of 2016, HP has promoted that its printers were compatible with third-party cartridges while in practice they were not. Following a firmware update, users received an error message when installing third-party cartridges on HP printers. This error message led users to believe the perfectly good third-party cartridge was defective and forced them to purchase more expensive HP ones, or even replace their printer entirely.”
Els Bruggeman, Head of Policy and Enforcement at Euroconsumers said: “This HP practice linked to planned obsolescence is not only illegal, it is also irresponsible. It causes financial detriment to consumers and wilfully increases the volume of waste when we should put all efforts on reducing it. Adding: “It is moreover totally unacceptable that HP takes over the control of consumers’ devices for its own benefit, by reading printer information and pushing updates without them knowing about it. Users should be in full control of their own devices.”
“There is a strong case against HP”, says Marco Scialdone, Head Litigation at Euroconsumers: “This is why we request HP to compensate each HP printer owner in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Brazil affected by these practices with an amount of up to EUR 150, just like they did in the United States. In case of no satisfactory answer, Euroconsumers is ready to launch a class action to get proper redress for consumers.”
Static Control’s General Counsel, Elizabeth McKee, commented “Static Control is closely watching Euroconsumers’ call to action and is interested in its efforts to support consumer choice, transparency, and the aftermarket.”
Our take on this: HP is busy getting green and rolling out their HP+ programme, but the Italian fine and their UIS settlement will open the door to more claims. The fundamental question is “who owns the data the printer generates, and does HP lawfully collect and use it?” That’s for the lawyers to argue and the judges to judge, but it’s likel HP will have to get the cheque book out a lot more often!
This story was updated on 05.05.2021 at 10:37 wit hthe inclusion of a quore from Static Control.
Categories : World Focus