AGCM sanctions HP: aggressive strategy on cartridges

AGCM sanctions HP: aggressive strategy on cartridges
The Competition and Market Authority has sanctioned the HP group for conduct deemed anti-competitive in terms of printer cartridges. At the heart of the matter is the age-old problem of compatible cartridges, which on the one hand reduce the quality of the printing experience in many cases, but on the other hand, above all, reduce the compensation of big brands by creating inevitable friction. When obstructive practices are put in place to stop compatible cartridges, however, the problem takes on a different tone and the antitrust at this point wanted to intervene in terms of sanctions.

The penalty amounts to 10 million and is the consequence of everything that emerged during the in-depth analysis of the AGCM.

HP and compatible cartridges

The Authority explains about the investigation carried out on the conduct of HP and HP Italy:

The two companies provide specific authentication instructions contained in the firmware - especially through a system called DS - Dynamic Security - according to which the printer recognizes the original HP cartridges and accepts them and instead refuses to print when it recognizes cartridges not original or produced before but of a certain date. In particular, according to the Authority, HP has failed to adequately inform consumers - at the time of purchase - about the presence of this relevant and significant limitation, leading them to believe that they need to replace non-original ink / toner cartridges due to shortages or defects. of the latter and therefore to use only original HP cartridges.

But that's not all. Not only did the firmware carry out this type of checks without informing the user, but they also collected additional data for purposes that go against the consumer's interest:

The Authority also ascertained that through the firmware present on many HP printers records, again without informing consumers, the consumption data relating to the cartridges used, original or not: data used both to create a database useful for formulating their commercial strategies, and to deny assistance for printers that have used non-original cartridges, thus hindering the provision of the legal guarantee of conformity.

The AGCM has given HP 60 days to "send a report on the initiatives taken to comply with the warning" and within 120 days it will have to regularize its sales packages, writing down any restrictions established at the firmware level.

Source: AGCM

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