Plaintiffs contend that HP intentionally installed firmware on certain wirelessly-enabled HP printers that caused the printers to fail when being used with non-HP brand ink cartridges.
As alleged, Plaintiffs are the purchasers of “all-in-one” HP printers and devices offered by and sold through Defendants. On or around September 13, 2016, these printers ceased to function. The malfunction of the printers was caused by firmware that HP wirelessly installed on these printers in March 2016, without notice or consent from their owners. The firmware operated to disable the printers if ink cartridges manufactured by an HP competitor were being used. In such cases, error messages appeared on the printer and/or the device sending the print job to the printer stating that the printer error was due to a damaged or failed ink cartridge. The error messages instructed the users to replace the non-HP ink cartridges with new cartridges. Only if the cartridges were replaced with ones manufactured by HP did the printers resume operation.
HP intentionally installed this firmware in order to force consumers to purchase HP’s more expensive ink cartridges as opposed to the less expensive ink cartridges manufactured by its competitors. This scheme was intended to and did cause HP to profit in the form of ink cartridge sales and servicing charges.
HP misrepresented to Plaintiffs that the printers were compatible with non-HP ink cartridges. Plaintiffs were induced to purchase the printers and/or ink cartridges from Defendants based on these misrepresentations regarding the functionality and quality of the printers. Defendants also intentionally misrepresented that the printers failed because the ink cartridges being used were damaged or had failed.