HP's Anti-Consumer Third-Party Cartridge Ban

Discover the frustrations faced by consumers due to HP's decision to block third-party cartridges in their printers. Learn about the implications for small businesses and the right-to-repair movement. Find out how you can voice your concerns and support alternatives to HP products

6/16/20234 min read

white and gray hp all in one printer
white and gray hp all in one printer

I got a call from my favorite client the other day about scheduled maintenance at the office. Got all my tools thanks to iFixit and soon was on the road. I have been a lot busy recently but I heard a rumor the other day about HP blocking third-party cartridges and toners but didn't dig much into it. Not cool to dig your head into the sand when it comes to information about your field of expertise.

I get there everything else goes smoothly, then I realize they are low on toners and cartridges which I had to take care of. Armed with my generic toner, I slapped that bad boy in and then the printer gives me a middle finger saying it only consumes fancy toners made at home by Mama HP. They did it, third-party toners are blocked from HP printers.


Here is where I am frustrated by the anti-consumer moves by HP to block you from having a choice of what to use in your printer. The rant starts;

HP claims its toners and cartridges only are quality and will ensure the best prints. I have a big issue with that, there are a number of third-party cartridges that we have used over the years and never had an issue with. completely zero.

Not only do savings matter, especially in small businesses where every cent counts, and the extra $20+ expense can go into the hourly wage of an employee. HP prices its cartridges way above most third-party cartridges; the average guy with a printer at home who use it rarely shouldn't be paying that much, especially when kids have to print assignments and such.

Hp printers are programmed by default to just accept updates automatically and for most people, they realized too late, and rolling back the firmware is just problematic and not worth it. I tried, didn't go well. The specific printer MFP 283CDW took me a minute to find its software, thanks to this guy in Reddit (Which I have issues with). HP scraped older firmware from its site but some OGs saved them in their google drive.

How To Roll Back HP MFP 280 Series Printer Firmware

To roll back the firmware,

  • On your printer, go to service laserjet, and enable downgrade.

  • Log into the web interface and enable FTP printing.

  • Use your FTP app, find the printer, and it will show its IP. upload/paste the firmware file and it will start updating on itself.

I downloaded the firmware on my phone and used ES file explorer, which was quick.

You may be successful but HP may give you a middle finger, unfortunately. After restarting, the printer may be unresponsive. the only option is to force power cycling but the issue still persisted. Did a factory reset but the printer still froze. So, I could use a third-party toner but couldn't print anything. WHY??? You won HP, I had to go buy overpriced HP 206A black toner for $72 and update the firmware after the rollback to get the printer working. My frustration was immeasurable, but it still is.

This is a total violation of customer trust and anti-consumer behavior. If not curbed now, the precedent set will push us into a dystopian world where you spend your money but Corpo still owns the product. As consumers, we should ask ourselves, what is the meaning of ownership? If I spent what the manufacturer asks as their fair price, shouldn't it be mine and shouldn't I decide what cartridge or toner should I use? The company is claiming to be climate-friendly but the number of waste created in this process is just an abomination.. whenever you see hp pledging to be climate-friendly, just call it BS and skip it.

What Next?

What do we do now? vote with your wallets, you don't have to buy HP. There are other brands that are not perfect but still allow third-party cartridges. I cannot recommend HP products now whatsoever. Remember, if they keep getting your money, their power stays the same.

Champion the Right to Repair at your local level. Vote for it, call your congressman/ woman and speak against anti-consumer behavior. You don't need to replace the whole system for a minor repair job because the manufacturer will block you from using the printer you bought. Champion legislation that kills anti-consumer behavior.

Continuing the Dialogue and Advocacy

We emphasize the need to keep the conversation alive and raise awareness about silent updates that restrict device usage. Supporting influential advocates like Louis Rossman, a prominent right-to-repair activist, can contribute to the cause. Together, we can challenge the status quo and advocate for a future where consumers have control over their devices.


The frustration caused by HP printers blocking third-party cartridges cannot be ignored. By understanding the implications for small businesses, consumer choice, and the environment, we can take meaningful action. Support the Right to Repair movement, explore alternative brands, and voice your concerns to effect change. Together, we can ensure a future where consumers are empowered to make their own choices and where anti-consumer behavior is curbed.

brown and white cat in shallow focus shot
brown and white cat in shallow focus shot