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The hidden cost of HP ink subscription

February 11, 2019

A new article penned by Josh Hendrickson for How To Geek reveals the “other price of admission” consumers may not be aware of when they sign up for HP’s Instant Ink service.

As Hendrickson explains, he opted to sign up for Instant Ink in order to combat the “recurring issue” he was facing of being “always out of printer ink” and having to fork out for expensive new cartridges.

He bought a new inkjet printer that was enrolled in HP’s subscription program, saying, “For a low cost, I would always have all the ink I needed—as long as I kept to a page limit, that is.”

However, a few years down the line, Hendrickson says he realised “there was one other price of admission”; namely, that the ink sent by HP belongs to the company, not to him, and if he cancelled the subscription at the end of the billing cycle they required the ink to be sent back.

On the plus side, Hendrickson describes Instant Ink as being “very easy to set up” and explains that “If you don’t use all your allotted pages in the month, the extra pages roll-over and you can use them next month.”

However, the “kicker”, as he puts it, comes during the cancellation of the service, because “as soon as your billing cycle ends the printer will not accept the ink anymore and you’re required to send it back to HP”, although the company does cover the cost of postage and packing.

An HP support agent explained to Hendrickson when he contacted them that “HP ships specially marked ink as part of this process, and your printer recognises that it is intended for Instant Ink subscribers only.” This is “essentially DRM”, states Hendrickson, designed so it “locks down” the ink in your printer.

Posing the question of whether or not Instant Ink is “a good deal”, the article declares that “it depends” on the number of pages you will need to print on a regular basis.

However, Hendrickson concludes that, for him personally, “I want my printer to be mine and controlled by me. All I have to do is convince myself that freedom is worth the cost of all new ink.”

Categories : Around the Industry

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