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Is Instant Ink a Ripoff

HP OJ 4655
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

I bought the printer several months ago, didn't know about Instant Ink (II) so bought two XL cartridges to use when the almost useless initial cartridges were done. Learned about II and signed up (50 page level), inserted the XL cartridges to use them up and waited. November 16 the color XL cartridge went down even though I print very little color(?). Inserted the II color cartridge and got notice that my II program started. Two days ago I got a notice that I was near the end of my 50 page program, and only half way through my first month. Did some checking and I was charged for 41 pages. I was befuddled. Most of my printing is black text. The black cartridge in my printer was still the XL that I had paid for. I had printed few color pages. How come I was dinged for 41 pages? Bumped up to the 100 page plan before I found out what the deal is.


Called HP II support (855) 785-2777. Here's the story:


(Long story. Read it all the way to the end and get some insight into how the business works. I’m afraid I got a little worked up [to put it mildly] at some of the stuff the guy was telling me. In a calmer mood now I can evaluate it more reasonably.)


When you print black text the color cartridge is used to "prime" (print) the paper with light gray (uses all three colors) text first, then prints the black over the gray. Yes, that’s truly how he explained it. Is that DUMB, or what? If they can’t make ink that’s black enough by itself they should just go home. One big ding against HP. (It’s about here I started to get a bit worked up.) That's why my XL color cartridge went dry before the XL black even though most of my printing is black text. And because the color cartridge is used in printing black, that gets charged against your II plan even if the black cartridge is not furnished as part of the plan. This only maintains until my XL black is used up and I put in the II cartridge. But still I feel I’m getting ripped off. Can’t print without a good color cartridge and get whacked for pages printed with ink I’ve already paid for. Another big ding against HP.


Told to me gratis, without asking, to explain the apparent loss of color ink: Although the XL color cartridge is rated 330 pages, that means there is enough red ink to print 110 pages, enough blue ink to print 110 pages, and enough yellow ink to print 110 pages. Three times 110 equals 330, right? **bleep**?! NO! This sounds too whacky to be true, but that’s what the HP support guy told me. BIG FALSE CLAIM! One hundred ten plus 110 plus 110 equals 110 full color pages not 330 monochrome messes. Third big ding against HP. The XL color cartridge has so little ink in it that even though it probably doesn’t use a whole lot doing its “priming” job for black printing it still doesn’t last as long as the black cartridge that it is paired with in the combo packs. On the other hand, look at the size of the cartridges. They are about the same physical size and the color has three tanks to the black’s one. The black is rated at 480 sheets and the color is rated at 330. Gotta be some stretching there somewhere. That’s ding number 4.


The II program doesn't charge for actually ink usage, it counts pages no matter what's printed on the page. I specifically asked, "If I print a single black 'X' in the middle of the page is that counted the same as a full color 8 X 10 photograph?"


Answer, "Yes."


Printing 50 pages with single black Xs on each costs the same as printing 50 full-page full-color photographs. **bleep**?! What about blank pages, I wondered. So I made a Word document consisting of one blank page sandwiched between two with single Xs on them and printed it. At least I got dinged only one page each for the two Xs. It recognized it hadn’t printed anything on the blank page. (Wow! How clever of it.) On the other hand, if it had been a real document with page numbers on otherwise blank pages… Big ding number 5.


Bottom line:

Since they charge you by the number of pages you print, not the amount of ink you use, and if they really do keep you supplied with all the ink you need on time, whether it’s a good deal or not depends on what type printing you do. If your text pages are all 8.5 X 11 and chock-a-block full, and/or you print a lot of 8 X 10 glossies, you probably make out pretty well. On the other hand, if what you print has more white paper and less ink you may be well behind the curve.


Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

For me, I’m trying it for a while to see it it’s a good fit. It still feels like someone’s getting ripped off. Just on principle the cynic in me says HP is making more money on this deal or they wouldn’t be doing it.

HP Support Agent
HP Support Agent
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Is Instant Ink a Ripoff


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Is Instant Ink a Ripoff

HP shouldn't be able to get away with this.  I've printed a total of 9 pages on this lousey machine in 1 1/2 years.  I opted for the FREE Ink plan, and have printed a total of 9 pages I purchased the ENVY 5055 in Dec 2018 and the FREE PLAN has charged me $11.77 of which I have 3 unused/unopened black ink/3 unused/unopened color ink cartridges sitting here.  So today I decided to try printing a label  and it won't let me because I cancelled the auto billing this month thinking I have enough ink (silly me).  Now the printer will not let me print unless I add back my credit card and if I cancel the subscription, the ink I have on hand becomes useless.  Translation, HP RIPOFF.  I'll never ever buy another HP printer again. The machine didn't work most of the time anyway.

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