Business as usual at HP ?



'Stevens v. HP' is an unfair business practices consumer class action filed in state court in Riverside County, California on or about July 31, 2000. Consumer class action lawsuits have been filed, in coordination with the original plaintiffs, in 32 additional states. The various plaintiffs throughout the country claim to have purchased different models of HP inkjet printers over the past four years. The basic factual allegation of these actions is that when the affected consumer purchased HP printers they received half-full or "economy" ink cartridges instead of full cartridges. Plaintiffs claim that HP's advertising, packaging and marketing representations for the printers led the consumers to believe they would receive full cartridges. These actions seek injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorneys' fees under various state unfair business practices statutes and common law claims of fruad and negligent misrepresentation.

[Text is from page 119 of the HP 2002 annual report to shareholders]


<<HP does not appear to deny the claim that it engages in this practice. Instead, HP seems to be arguing that it is not liable because it never promised to provide full ink-cartridges with each new inkjet printer.>>


In the setting up instructions for my new Epson C64 printer it states that ink is used during the pass-off procedure for each printer & that the first time the consumer uses the printer extra ink is used to prime the printer heads, thus the consumer should not expect to get a full cartridge life from those supplied with the printer.

Now that's a good angle!


Shouldn't we call it a very ellegant form of "cover your ass by finding a nonsensical scapegoat?"


I find this all too believable. For some time it has been my claim the manufacturer sells a printer at a loss in order to have a more or less captive market for the cartridges. If the cartridge that came with the printer is half full, then the profits start that much sooner. In some case a full set of cartridges will cost more than half the prinetr price.

This applies to the printer market generally, not just HP.


I find that as the clark for a small law office, it is actually more efficient in total cost to use the computer only for doing number tasks, especially accounting. But rather than printing, I use a broad-nibbed pen and India ink to prepare documents--even copying the numbers off of the screen. (The computer is very helpful even without printing--its ability to compute large sums, leaving the inputs available for checking, is simply a marvel.)

This has saved us thousands of pounds each year in ink costs. Before we went to this method, we were spending £700 on ink-jet cartridges per ream of paper. And, at least three-quarters of that money was wasted on "check-prints." The cost of the india ink is, by comparison, cheap--only about £15 per ream of paper. And as you know, solicitors like to write reams!




I thought this was "the common wisdom". If you intend to use a printer a lot, you get a laser printer - preferably a workgroup model if you REALLY want to get the cost per page down.

Ink jet printers are just disposable razors. It's the blades that they're selling.

My first printer cost $3000 (back in the 70s when you could get a nice new car for the same price) and ribbons cost $15. But then even that $15 ribbon was around the price of a modern low end ink jet printer once you allow for inflation!

I recently bought a halogen lamp that included a no-name 100w bulb that emitted about half the light of other 50w halogen bulbs that I already had. I thought something was wrong with the lamp itself but a replacement bulb fixed it. But then they just said it included a bulb. They didn't say it was a good one :-)


This is why I tell people to buy Canon ink-jet printers. The ink costs $7 if you buy the authentic canon product, or you can buy the no-name brand for $5. HP, Epson, Lexmark and the others all play the buy-the-razor-buy-the-blade game, but Canon doesn't. Hence, they get my business!

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