Company or individual details
- HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd603480628
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd (HP PPS) in relation to the failure to disclose to consumers that certain HP inkjet printers had been installed with technology intended to prevent those printers working with non-HP ink cartridges. HP PPS has admitted that it was likely to have contravened sections 18, 29(1)(g) and 33 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
HP PPS is a wholly owned subsidiary of HP Inc, a company incorporated in the United States. It imports, distributes and supplies HP products. HP PPS is supplied with printers by HP Inc (or its subsidiaries) and distributes those printers in Australia to authorised resellers and retail channel partners for resupply to customers (consumers and businesses). It also sells HP products directly to customers via its online store.
The relevant conduct
From at least March 2015 onwards, HP PPS supplied for sale in Australia ten models of inkjet printers (Relevant Printers), which functioned with both HP branded ink cartridges and non-HP ink cartridges.
In response to the development of non-HP ink cartridges, HP Inc developed technology referred to as a "Dynamic Security Feature" (the DSF).
From March 2015 to at least August 2016, the DSF was installed in a large proportion of the Relevant Printers either during manufacture or, where not pre-installed, by way of a firmware update made available by HP Inc for download by customers in Australia. HP PPS sold in Australia approximately 220,000 Relevant Printers, a large proportion of which were enabled with the DSF.
Around 13 September 2016, the DSF, as intended, caused the Relevant Printers to reject certain non-HP ink cartridges.
HP PPS failed to disclose to consumers in Australia that some of the Relevant Printers were enabled with the DSF and that the DSF was intended to prevent the Relevant Printers from printing with non-HP ink cartridges, when HP PPS knew that some customers were using, and wanted to use, non-HP ink cartridges.
HP PPS also misrepresented to customers the cause of the failure of the Relevant Printers to print when using non-HP ink cartridges, via an error message displayed on the Relevant Printers, as well as to some affected customers who contacted HP PPS and reported that error message.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, HP PPS provided the ACCC with a section 87B undertaking, which includes:
- offering $50 in compensation to consumers who own a Relevant Printer and can show that they used a non-HP ink cartridge
- improving messaging about DSF on printer packaging and at point of sale to make it clear that it is designed to prevent the use of non-HP ink cartridges
- making available a firmware update that will disable the DSF for all inkjet printers manufactured prior to 1 December 2016.