Hewlett-Packard (HP) is under legal scrutiny as a group of consumers filed a proposed federal class action on Friday in a Chicago court, accusing the technology giant of antitrust violations and deceptive practices related to its printers’ ink cartridges.
Eleven consumers hailing from various states, including Illinois, New York, and Missouri, allege that HP engaged in anticompetitive behavior by designing its printers to reject replacement ink cartridges from other manufacturers.
According to Reuters, this compelled consumers to pay artificially inflated prices for HP-branded cartridges, creating an environment conducive to monopolizing the replacement ink market.
The lawsuit contends that HP failed to inform customers that automatic software updates could disable certain printers unless exclusively using HP-branded ink. This alleged lack of transparency resulted in non-functional printers, coercing consumers into purchasing HP-branded ink cartridges that they would not have otherwise chosen.
The legal action builds upon previous or pending cases against HP, accusing the company of deceptive practices concerning its ink cartridges. In 2019, HP reached a settlement in a California case, agreeing to pay $1.5 million to resolve consumer claims. However, the settlement did not require the company to admit any wrongdoing.