HP has u-turned on a firmware update which stopped unofficial ink cartridges from working in some of the company's printers.
Users began reporting that their devices no longer recognised cheap ink cartridges earlier this month, with one vendor saying they’d received more than a thousand complaints in a single day.
It emerged that a recent firmware update had changed settings so that its printers could communicate with cartridges complete with HP chips, and would not work with cartridges without them.
HP is now planning to roll out an optional update in the next two weeks to reverse the changes, following a blacklash from disgrunted printer owners.
"The most recent firmware update included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned," COO Jon Flaxman said.
"We should have done a better job of communicating about the authentication procedure to customers, and we apologize. Although only a small number of customers have been affected, one customer who has a poor experience is one too many."
People tend to avoid official ink replacements, as they cost a lot more than third-party cartridges.
"HP printers and original HP ink products deliver the best quality, security and reliability," Flaxman continued.
"When ink cartridges are cloned or counterfeited, the customer is exposed to quality and potential security risks, compromising the printing experience."
Dutch ink supplier 123inkt first said that more than a thousand customers had complained in a single day, and that HP’s claim that the change was due to recent update was “misleading”. The firm suggested the change had been pre-programmed to roll out this month.