Warning - stay away from Instant Ink unless you like not having your printer work AND the joy of terrible support service!
I bought a new HP printer a could of weeks ago and signed up for the Instant Ink service. The printer worked perfectly with the starter cartridges it was supplied with. I got my first set of Instant Ink cartridges and as instructed I waited until one of my initial cartridges ran out of ink. I then replaced the empty Tri-Color cartridge with the Instant Ink version and received a message on my printer that the cartridge wouldn't work until I enrolled the printer in the Instant Ink service.
Mind you, I had enrolled the printer - that's how I got the cartridges in the first place. Also, the Instant Ink website showed my printer as being enrolled. I contacted customer service and had a 2 hour chat with a rep who walked me thru a long list of trouble shooting steps before telling me that was all he could do and that he'd elevate my issue to a higher level. He also took my address and said that he'd send me a new cartridge, implying that there might be a defect in the one they'd originally sent. (NOTE - nowhere in the Instant Ink sales pitch does it tell you that there's some advanced technology in the cartridge that needs to work properly.) I know the rep processed the new cartridge because I received an email from Fed Ex that it was on its way. Unfortunately the rep completely butchered the address so when I checked with Fed Ex they told me that it was undeliverable to the address that they had and that only the shipper could change the address.
I contacted HP again and they had no idea how to change the shipping address. They offered to go thru trouble shooting with me again, but I told them I'd done all that. This rep mentioned something about "both cartridges". I told him, as I'd told the first rep, that I'd only replaced the Tri-Color cartridge because that was the only one that had run out of ink. He told me that the printer required both cartridges to be Instant Ink cartridges to work. That was news to me. While it seemed like a waste of expensive ink, I swapped out the regular black cartridge for an Instant Ink black cartridge. Now the printer printed but did so incorrectly and the ends of every line trailed off in a curve. Not good but it really didn't matter as I only got 3 pages printed before receiving the same error message about needing to register the printer.
This rep suggested a few things that also didn't work and then said he was transferring me to something called Smart Friend, which he described as the elevated support service. When I got connected to Smart Friend, I learned that this is actually a paid subscription based IT support service that helps with software issues. Their rep said that they don't do hardware and that the issue I had didn't sound like something I should have to pay to have fixed. He said he'd transfer me back to HP but to a supervisor. When I got back to HP, the guy who answered wasn't a supervisor but was another first line tech.
After going back and forth with him, he transferred me to someone he claimed was a supervisor. That guy had me on the phone for two hours, eventually saying that he couldn't help either. Instead he assigned a new case number and promised that my situation would be "elevated to a case manager. I asked for a direct phone number to this case manager but the rep said he couldn't provide that but that the case manager would be sure to call me. That was 4 days ago. I haven't heard from anyone.
In the meantime, I've been able to order and receive a regular replacement Tri-Color cartridge and my printer works fine again. Fortunately I hadn't thrown away the perfectly good black printer cartridge and still have that!
In short, Instant Ink is an interesting idea (the printer self orders ink when it's running low) but has terrible execution. The billing process is impossible to understand - based upon both amount of printing and time periods, and when you get the cartridges the printer won't work. They claim that there's a big cost savings on ink, but I don't care how much I can save if it means that I can't use my home office (and like millions my work office is closed) for a week and a half. Especially when Costco or Amazon can get me a new WORKING cartridge in 2 days!
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