HP recently informed Instant Ink plan customers that the company had ended its « free ink for life » contract after just three years, according to Consumer Reports. From Friday it will no longer be so free.
What kind of deal was that? The company remotely monitored ink usage by printer buyers (creepy!) And sent out a « free » cartridge when it ran low. . . with some restrictions.
Printing (and ink) wasn’t unlimited. Users were allowed to print 15 pages per month. Subscribers also had to leave a credit card with HP. If you go through more than 15 pages, HP will charge you $ 1 for 10 additional pages.
Oh, another fun part of the plan: Every five pages, HP printed an ad on your printer. Don’t worry, the ad won’t count towards your quota. Phew!
But now those halcyon days are over. HP charges program participants 99 cents per month for their 15 pages. Sure, nearly $ 12 a year doesn’t sound like much, but they signed up again for FREE Ink for Life.
There are levels that cost anywhere from $ 99 cents to $ 24. 99 / month for more pages based on your printing needs. One positive change to the plan is that you can move your unused pages up to a limit.
The « Free Ink for Life » bait-and-switch deal is just the latest trick HP (and other printer companies) have used to make as much money as possible on their machines. The writer Cory Doctorow has broken down how HP milked its customers dry with « security chips ». in ink cartridges that keep your printer from working when you try to use third-party (cheaper) ink.
Printer manufacturers face the same challenge as any other hardware company: How to get people to keep spending after the first investment. The formula for success is subscriptions. That’s why you see tiered pricing plans for everything from fitness classes on Peloton to cloud storage from Apple. Big Printer is of course there.
World News – USA – HP’s « Free Ink for Life » plan has ended because home printers are a scam
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