HP's Horrible Printer Ink Subscription is Worse Than I Realized

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Charlie Warzel: My Printer Is Extorting Me

The trouble started with a label for a package. My printer was unresponsive. Then I discovered an error message on my computer indicating that my HP OfficeJet Pro had been remotely disabled by the company. When I logged on to HP’s website, I learned why: The credit card I had used to sign up for HP’s Instant Ink cartridge-refill program had expired, and the company had effectively bricked my device in response.


The problems can extend beyond artificial limitations. Skip Weisman, who owns his own consulting business in Poughkeepsie, New York, told me that HP Instant Ink would not stop sending him inkjet cartridges. Armed with well over a year’s supply, Weissman canceled his subscription. “It’s called Instant Ink—nobody told me that if I canceled, then all those cartridges would stop working,” he said. But they did.

I tweeted about how stupid this ink subscription was when I heard about it last year, and a few people responded that it was actually pretty convenient. not only does this article assure me that my skepticism was warranted, the plan is actually worse than I realized.

  1. You get charged each month whether they send you ink or not.
  2. HP can block you from using those ink cartridges if your subscription lapses. Their solution is to throw those out and buy off-the-shelf cartridges instead. Oh sure, there's still plenty of ink on that cartridge you already have, you're just not allowed to use it.

Trash, absolute trash.