HP set to eliminate free instant ink offer

(Image credit: Future)

Users of HP’s Instant Ink subscription service are in for a nasty shock next month when their printer fees are set for a substantial increase. In an email sent out to subscribers last week, they were informed that HP’s ‘Free Ink for Life’ plan would not be free for much longer.

Previously, HP’s Instant Ink service worked by allowing subscribers to print up to 15 pages a month for free, with ink suppliers automatically notified when ink levels were running low, so new cartridges could be delivered. Now subscribers will be forced to pay a monthly fee based on the number of pages they expect to print each month, with no free tier available.

The new proposals could cause owners of HP printers to question whether they actually own the device at all. Under the new subscription, failure to pay a monthly ink bill means that the printer will not function, regardless of how much ink remains in the cartridge.

A license to print money

HP has not formally commented on the changes to its Instant Ink subscription, but the email sent out to customers indicates that these the new pricing plan will come into force from December 26. Earlier this month, however, the company did announce the launch of HP+, a new service to meet home and office printing needs.

“We believe HP+ is the future of printing – it’s a fundamental shift in the printing experience. We’ve put the best printing innovation together into one complete solution for consumers and small businesses: category-leading hardware, the largest supplies subscription service now including toner, and the best print app now in the cloud,” Tuan Tran, President of Imaging, Printing and Solutions at HP, explained. “We’ve designed HP+ for those who value printing most, so we can deliver an enhanced experience for them.”

Subscription services are commonplace these days, but HP Instant Ink customers may argue that they took the ‘Free Ink for Life’ promise at its word. On the other hand, HP may well state that it reserves the right to change the terms of its subscription service whenever it so desires.

Via Slash Gear

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.