HP Instant Ink: Ink replacement subscription service savings may be overstated

Instant Ink Subscription Problems

There are some significant shortcomings to the Instant Ink program that result in much consumer frustration and consumer complaints. This is unfortunate since HP printers are generally quite good, and those who don’t use the Instant Ink program are generally very satisfied with HP products. Here’s a short list of what’s wrong with the Instant Ink program and below is a description of what HP can do to fix these problems.

  • Fluctuating Print Needs. Those with varying print needs from one month to the next, or those who occasionally get a large print job, will not be satisfied with the Instant Ink program. Here’s why… Let’s say you get a huge print job to do that ends up causing you to run out of ink prior to when your replacement cartridges ship. You’ll be with a non-functional printer. If you go to the store to get more ink, you’ll find that ink doesn’t work. Some stores won’t take back those opened ink cartridges so you may lose over $100. Those who go for a month or more without using their printer, will still pay for that month. So, in other words, those who underuse or overuse their printers will ultimately pay more per page.
    • Note: This system is how mobile phone service contracts were in the past — with customers paying a really high price for their minutes of talk time over their limit, or paying a monthly fee regardless of how much or little they use their phone. The program was so disliked by consumers that the mobile phone industry had to change.
  • Owner Transfer. Let’s say you want to sell the printer at a yard sale or donate it. That printer will be useless unless you go through the process of deactivating the subscription ink program on it.
  • Service Deactivation. You can turn off web services, but you’ll still get billed for the instant ink program. You’ll need to follow the instructions on how to cancel HP Instant Ink service. You’ll be required to return your cartridges to HP. If you don’t know your HPInstantInk.com login information that will present an additional barrier. Perhaps it’s something you setup a year ago on an email account you no longer have access to. Plan to spend some time on the phone with HP.

Some simple steps below describe what HP should do to fix these issues.

What Should HP Do?

The subscription plan in its current form is about as annoying as mobile phone service contracts or lease vehicles where you estimate your usage ahead of time. Inevitably there’s some waste or money lost. HP should really make some tweaks to this program and roll out a new version that offers the following:

  • Automatic. Like the current plan, automatic orders are placed based on when your ink is starting to run low, but HP could just send out regular ink cartridges, not special cartridges.
  • Economical. Let there be a 30% savings on each ink cartridge purchased, not some imaginary potential savings on charges per page printed.
  • Fair & Green. You pay for ink, not pages, so you can be rewarded for responsible printing choices such as less page coverage and using draft mode. This is fair and promotes more sustainable practices.
  • Non-Program Ink. Allow for standard HP cartridges to be used in the printer as well as subscription cartridges. This would provide a HUGE benefit to the customer and would cost HP nothing. It would actually result in a win-win because the customer would be happy and there could still be profit from retail sales of cartridges.

The emphasis would be on the convenience, while delivering sufficient savings to motivate consumers to choose the subscription service. The above suggestions would resolve all the remaining problems and customer complaints found on the rest of this page.

What Consumers Can Do To Save on Ink

If you really want to save on ink, you should get a printer like the HP OfficeJet 8710 and purchase extended life capacity cartridges from the store and always keep extras on hand, ordering more when your backup ink supply runs out. It’s that simple. The reason you’ll want a business-class OfficeJet printer is because the low-end home consumer HP printers typically use just two ink cartridges (one black and one tri-color cartridge). Run low on blue ink? You’ll need to replace the entire color cartridge system. The smaller cartridges seem to be more prone to drying out. However, the cost of printing when using a business-class printer is reduced because they use separate color ink cartridges (not combined in one) so individual ink can be replaced. Also, the XL cartridges offer many pages of printing per cartridge.

For those having trouble with the HP Instant Ink program, the remainder of this document, originally written in 2015, is provided below for reference.

A Monthly Subscription Plan for Ink

Hewlett Packard (HP) recently launched a new subscription service for printer ink that’s based on a cost per page rather than the cost per ink cartridge. Your printer communicates your number of pages printer with HP and you’re billed 3 to 6 cents per page for ink consumed. They claim that the service can save you hundreds of dollars per year as shown in the chart below:


The program seems like an amazing deal. However, if you take a closer look at the cost estimates, it’s clear that the savings are exaggerated.

Sustainability Efforts Haven’t Gone Far Enough

HP offers extended capacity (XL) ink cartridges for lower printing costs and to reduce waste. Presumably that’s the maximum amount of ink you can fit in a cartridge.

Yet, apparently they’ve been holding out on us.

Take another look at the chart above. Notice the statement: “Our cartridges have more ink than HP XL ink cartridges…”

So, all along, HP could have been putting a few more pennies worth of ink in those cartridges, reducing our carbon footprint, saving a trip to the store, and saving money. Yet, instead, it turns out that their XL cartridges don’t hold the maximum amount of ink. That’s apparently reserved for the customers who pay for the monthly plan.

HP Overstates Potential Savings

For example, the HP Officejet Pro 8630 uses the 950 series of ink cartridges. If, like most people, you print mostly using black ink, you can purchase a black ink cartridge for $38 that will yield 2,300 pages.


That’s about 1.5 cents per page, or $54 per year for the 3,600 pages that HP says could cost you $792. That’s way below the annual amount claimed by HP in their promotional materials. Even the ink subscription ‘savings’ plan of $120 per year is over 100% more than what you’d pay just buying about one extra capacity cartridge per year.

Let’s say you use black ink and color inks equally. That’s very unlikely, but let’s say that’s what you do. Then you’ll spend about $120 for a set of four which might yield 1,500 to 2,300 pages. That’s still only 8 cents per page at the lowest estimated yield.

HP is claiming you’ll spend $792 a year on ink to print 3,600 pages. That’s 22 cents per page for ink. That’s virtually impossible regardless of what printer you’re using. Even if you’re printing hundreds of 8.5×11″ portrait photos (which most people aren’t).

If you use the black only setting, and the draft option whenever possible, your print yield will be much higher. Combine that with purchasing XL (extended capacity) cartridges, and you actually could save hundreds of dollars on ink.

Promise of 50% Savings Not Accurate

In the marketing materials, HP states that you can save 50% on the cost of ink. At first glance, any reasonable person would assume that you’d be purchasing ink at a savings of 50%. That should be achievable given that subscription services for products are typically more economical, and if HP is ‘cutting out the middle man’ it seems that a 50% savings off of retail prices might be possible. Yet, as was demonstrated above, the subscription plan in this case could cost 100% more rather than 50% less.

What’s strange is that some of the marketing materials promise 50% savings. Yet, elsewhere, like the chart above, the savings are more like 85% ($120 instead of $792). Why would the representation of savings be so different?


You Pay Even When You Don’t Use Ink

On the subscription plan, you pay every month, even if you’ve printed nothing. HP claims that unused pages on your plan ‘rollover’ just like a mobile phone company. However, there’s a limit and the credits don’t accumulate beyond one month. For example, if you’re on the 50 pages per month plan, you can roll over 50 pages to the next month. Then you loose those credits after a month. You’ll never accumulate more than 100 pages total.

You can cancel any time, but will people really remember to cancel when they go on vacation and then reinstate the program when they return?

What about mis-printing, when you mistakenly have a page with just one word print. With HP,  you’ll pay as if the page was covered with words or pictures.

What about printing on smaller pieces of paper, like 5×7 size pages for photos? Presumably you’ll pay the same as if you’re printing 80% coverage on legal size 8.5 x 14″ pages.

The monthly fees are shown below.


Who is the Program For?

Like a buffet for big eaters, the people who really save money on the subscription plan are those who regularly fill the page with colored ink. It’s well suited for people who use more than the average amount of colored ink consistently and have significant page coverage. These people might only get 1000 pages yield per XL cartridge. So, they might save money on the $10 per month plan (for example).

HP really needs to create a simple online calculator to help consumers determine if this program is right for them. The statement of saving is really arbitrary. The savings will be different depending on a user’s typical printing needs.

Intentional Misrepresentation to Persuade Consumers?

Unfortunately, it seems that HP is engaged in misleading representations about the annual ink costs in an effort to encourage people to pay for a service they may not really want if they knew the savings weren’t that great.

Why Not Switch to Another Brand?

Whenever we’re dissatisfied with a company, there’s always the option to switch to another, right? Well, that’s not so with printers.

Other printer manufacturers aren’t any better.

At least in HP high-end inkjet printers, the ink cartridges are tightly sealed which extends their life during non use. With other brands of printers, the ink and/or print heads can dry out after a month or two of non-use. Other manufacturers use separate components for printing heads and ink tanks. This means it’s possible to overrun print heads causing them to dry out or otherwise perform poorly. HP all-in-one devices such as the Officejet 8630 have very fast scan times — about 3 seconds per page for 300 dpi high quality color. Other scanners sometimes take 10 seconds just to ‘warm up’ and then another 10 seconds or more to scan a page. HP printers are built solid. For all of these reasons, it’s not possible (or at least not practical) to switch to another brand of printer.


Case Updates

Below are updates regarding this case.

  • Tuesday, 26 Sep 2017 @ 5:12 AM CT. We continue to receive numerous consumer complaints to our page about this program. We’ve revised this page so at the top are a brief listing of the main problems with the HP Instant Ink program, and also a short simple list of how all these problems could go away by a few changes to the ink subscription program.
  • Saturday, 26 July 2015 @ 1:14 AM CT. We contacted HP using the Senior Vice President feedback page and provided a synopsis of the above information.
  • Monday, 27 July 2015 @ 9:50 AM CT. We received a call from HP Case Management in response to our communication yesterday. The case manager was very polite and appreciated the feedback about the ink subscription program marketing materials. They said this case would be escalated.
  • Sunday, 22 November 2015 @ 7:25 AM CT. We noticed a sponsored ad on Facebook that continues to promise in at 50% off (see below). So, apparently nothing has been done yet about their advertising campaign.

42 thoughts on “HP Instant Ink: Ink replacement subscription service savings may be overstated”

  1. Another reason that BIG BROTHER WATCHING HP Instant Savings is a BIG rip off! I cancelled the program because my small nonprofit was closing. On the date of the final month my payment covered, my HP printer disallowed me from using up the rest of the cartridge I PURCHASED from Instant Savings- forcing me to recycle those cartridges with plenty of ink in them, and go buy more. (Apparently , in the teeny, tiny fine print of the long contract, they have you sign it says they can do this)- it is such a waste, in addition to consumer fraud and power in my opinion that I will be buying a new non HP printer, and I will never spend one penny with HP ever again.

  2. Recommend noting that if your credit card details change and you don’t update quickly, HP not only don’t send a replacement, they have the ability to remotely disable your printer as long as it contains “their” cartridges. Personally I can’t live with someone able to remotely block my ability to print.

  3. I signed up for the trial offer, and found out that this service was not for me, I wish I had seen your report before, 100% accurate. So I cancelled the plan and purchased a regular black cartridge. The printer still had the color cartridge that was in the box when we bought it. I thought that was my cartridge, but then HP informed that it was going to be blocked as well, because I had signed for Instant ink and the cartridges in the new printer box were both Instant Ink. So they were never really mine -the cartridges “included” with the printer. I decided to buy another printer, a different brand.

  4. We bought the instant ink plan and cancelled after five months because we were barely printing anything. They charged through the next month, then disabled my printer cartridges that I paid $35.00 for through the plan, and they want us to mail the cartridges back to them. Best Buy should not push this plan. There is no savings to it. If we hadn’t cancelled, we would have been paying an astronomical amount of money per page printed since we were barely using the plan. Now I have no ink cartridge, plenty of ink left in the cartridge that we did pay for, and have to go buy other cartridges. Total rip off, was not as explained, complete false advertising.

  5. My experience has been similar to others. The first 2 cartridges I received via InstantInk were both defective, and had to be replaced. One produced a purple and turquoise copy of black text. The other produced pink and yellow copies of photos. I had to return both cartridges plus copies verifying those defects to HP (at their expense), but the defective copies were counted against my 100/mo count. Since I needed to print before the replacements arrived, I bought regular cartridges. The printer would not allow me to use them since I was still on the InstantInk plan. Only after I cancelled the plan and returned the late-arriving cartridges to HP could I use my printer again.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. In theory, the automatic supplies replacement sounds like a great idea for all parties, but in practice there seem to be many failures with the service. I continue to just buy the ink as needed from Staples.

  6. Sorry – don’t see anything in their marketing that is misleading – they say ” save up to 50% ” It’s not even ” save 50%* ” with a “*” disclaimer in fine print. That directly suggests the customer to determine or if it applies to them.

    For the service itself, have had for 6 months for our small business, and we are happy with it. We are a visual retailer, and print catalog pages, and many color graphics for sales support and staff training – about 350 pages / mo. We were constantly changing out / running out of ink. Now, savings will come-in above 40%, and one-less hassle to take care of. I can see how a standard office savings would be much less, but here’s one example that the “up to 50%” can be backed up – no brainer for us.

    1. What visual retailer would lack the business sense to plan ahead for ink usage and have a couple of extra cartridges in back stock? Sounds like an HP shill to me.

  7. My experience echoes those above; non-savings, blocked use… I will add, nagging emails and popups. I have changed out cartridges, but still pay per page till end of contract. I did not want to give new CC info for a plan I had already canceled. But they wont let me pay buy check/paypal/cash. I sent them a check anyway.

  8. #HPInstantInk is a complete scam. I have been using this printer for well over a year. I print about 200 pages a month. I thought this would be a great deal. BUT the printer stops working when I try to print volume, it now prints blank pages out of nowhere, and when my I have just paid for the month, it works just fine. But once I go over about 25 pages, it gives me so much trouble that printing 25 pages actually takes about 50 pages. NONE of this happened with the exact same printer until I signed up for the services.

    The only thing I learned is do NOT trust HP and that printer cartridges can hold ten times the ink somehow when they have to ship them and pay for the cartridges. The cartridge they send will print so much more than the largest cartridge you can buy.

    Also, I was on hold and hung up on 7 times by HP support. My printer will not work, it claims a “billing error” My billing is correct. I am absolutely certain as it is my billing information for all my automatic account withdrawals. You see I only used 28 pages of my 300, but by the time I am able to reach support the month will have rolled over… So I paid for 300 pages but only printed 28… DO NOT trust HP Instant Ink.

    Buy a more expensive printer from a reputable company. Notice this service only works with certain models? They sell them so cheap because they know you have to buy their ink or your printer will not work. You will save a ton going with almost any other printer.


  9. Hi, question for people who have canceled instant ink:

    How exactly does HP bar you from using instant ink cartridges when you cancel your service? i’ve heard they disable the printer’s wifi. if so, would it be possible to plug your printer up with a usb and print the rest of the instant ink cartridges?

    1. Terry, I believe there is coding on the cartridges themselves. My situation was same as yours, and I couldn’t even make a photocopy when I signed off Wi-Fi. So creepy that they can turn your printer into a big black brick remotely! Cancelled immediately and bought my own cartridges, and now can print/copy with no problem, and found it costs less to buy my own cartridges after all.

    2. No- that will not work. you must buy new cartridges from the store or online. Even then, do not be surprised if your printer only works occasionally. I have not had a reliable working printer since I cancelled my subscription. I have spent so much time on the phone w/ HP support and been told the cause was due to various things. Most of the time when I try to print a single page with usb plugged in it says “printer not connected”.

  10. I HATE THIS PROGRAM. They send you a large ink cartridge (larger than is available for purchase in the stores). If you cancel the service, you can no longer use the remaining ink. And the hp cartridges you were using before are too dry to now refill. The customer service is bad, it’s hard to get someone on the phone, and I’m left in a worse position than I started. Last thing: if you try to change the print layout in Adobe to 4 pages to 1 page, you will still be charged for the total number of pages (regardless of the fact that you actually saved ink by printing on less sheets of paper. Two thumbs down!

  11. DO NOT BUY INSTANT INK UNLESS YOU KNOW YOUR PRINTER WILL BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET. My daughter bought a new HP printer and subscribed to instant ink before leaving for college. When she arrived on campus, she learned that the dorms in her college do not allow student’s printers to connect to the internet. Fine, so we tried using her cell phone’s hotspot, but couldn’t connect. We contacted HP who confirmed that the printer’s wireless connection is not compatible with all hotspot services. Short story long, because her printer couldn’t connect with HP, it blocked her from printing, even though she was still using the original cartridges with plenty of ink left. We had to cancel Instant Ink and buy all new cartridges.

  12. I signed up for instant ink about 6 months into having my printer and had the first 2 months free. I NEVER RECEIVED ANY CARTRIDGES THROUGH THEM but when my credit card expired before the 2 months were up I decided I really did not want a recurring monthly charge and cancelled. My printer will not print now even though the cartridge I purchased and inserted before enrolling is FULL OF INK! I am so disgusted with Hp.
    The other thing they do is force you to print and waste ink & paper for stuff that would be just fine to view on screen instead. They do it on purpose. I will never purchase another hp product again as long as I live.
    Did you read that HP? N-E-V-E-R! ┌∩┐(^_~)┌∩┐

  13. tdlr; Same ink same cartridges but one can block you and you probably won’t save much if you’re a regular home user or print b&w(xl cartridges are more cost effective)
    I like hp printers, I haven’t actually owned any non hp printer before and got a deal at frys for an envy 5540 that retails at $129 for about $40 bucks. It includes a free 3 month plan for their instant ink program you need a CC for it to take effect though. If you opt for the enrollment card you may not need a CC?. The trial ink included in the packaging is instant ink so I’m guessing if you want to print from the get go, YOU HAVE TO BUY YOUR OWN INK or choose one of their plans using HP Instant Ink. The 3 month free plan is a meager 15pg/per month, what I find entrapping about this is most people when they get a new printer go on a printing spree and will be forced to spend more money on either the plan or their own non instant ink cartridges. The other thing is that for some reason they themselves state their cartridges hold more ink than the expensive xl cartridges so practically admitting they’ve been holding out why not just offer bigger cartridges to all?

    Who saves from this plan, people who print a lot and in color everyone else will feel it is a rip off since the charges are incurred monthly regardless of you printing or not. You get up to a month’s roll over so long as you’re still subscribed. If you want extra pages the higher the tier of the plan the cheaper they become (the sets all cost an extra buck but you more pages on the 300pg/month plan), The plans aren’t bad 50/100/300 the most expensive only being $9.99 but personally I don’t print all that much. The problem is sometimes you want to print a large job so going with the cheapest plan means you’ll be paying extra.

    I will cancel the freebie before the 3 months I just don’t like the idea of having a to pay for something I already own. But that’s just it you never own the ink that came with your printer(if you bought a instant ink hp printer). You have to purchase the non instant ink cartridges separately. I’ll be buying my own cartridges and print on my own schedule and if they want to improve their plan unlimited roll over so you never end up paying for nothing. Other than that I think others are making a big fuss over not understanding what they’ve just bought. Of course I haven’t had to cancel the subscription just yet but I’ve read from many other sites people are having issues but the bulk of them seem to be people thinking that the instant ink cartridges would be theirs once they cancelled and then find out those have been blocked, your printer still functions it just wont print using instant ink cartridges(the ink and cartridges is the same the only thing that changes is the chip on them and how much ink they hold -_-). The other problem is hp nagging people who never bought their plan or who have cancelled using the non instant ink cartridges having to actually go to their printers(to answer nags) to get any printing done. This is actually a very serious issue and I would return my device if that’s the case.

    It’s not cost effective but they should include both types of cartridges or only the non instant ink ones. Buying one of these instant ink enabled printers means either having to join one of their plans, or buying your own regular ink as you get none included.

    There are people who CAN benefit from these plans but I think most will save more just buying regular ink. If you really want to save just buy refill kits or non-hp branded ink, but that’s the point right this is where they’re hemorrhaging money and the type of businesses they’re “attacking” with their subscription model. We’ve become too complacent letting companies choose how we use our products although having options is always better those options being offered need to be good otherwise you as a company just alienate your consumer.

    1. I just got remanufactured 61XL color and black carts from Amazon for $22 and they work as good as the OEM standard ones that came with my Envy 4500. I was at Staples a little while ago and saw I could buy a brand new Brother all in one copier for less than new HP brand ink. If you get a combo pack of color/black you can only get one blackXL as they don’t offer a combo with both XL tanks. If you buy XL carts separate they will run you near $100.
      If you go with this program or buy HP ink in any form you are going to get ripped off. Buy reman.

  14. We are a small business. This plan doesn’t work for us. Cancelled today and will pick up new cartridges. We have been mailed ink cartridges already that we didn’t need yet and we are over our plan limit this month already? Still on the cartridges it came with. We print in draft mode in mostly black and white and currently it’s mostly accounting things or labels etc. This plan is not economical for those of us with higher volumes and use draft black and white mode.

    1. Yeah, it seems that the program only works for those who print precisely the same number of pages each month (no more, no less), and never have trouble with ink cartridges drying out prematurely, and always print the exact ‘sweat spot’ of pages per month to achieve the greatest savings. 😦

      1. A bit puzzled by the remark about precise page count in order to have the program work well for you – my number of pages has varied a good bit from month-to-month. One month, I only printed about 120 pages, last month I printed over 500. The “rollover” evens it out & keeps me from incurring any extra charges. And they only send new cartridges when your current cartridge hits a certain level, so I don’t have to worry about excess cartridges sitting around getting old. (Though as for me personally, I go through the cartridges way too fast for any to ever dry out anyway!)

        Again, sure, this program is certainly not for everyone. If someone is printing a massive number of text-only documents regularly, using a minimal amount of ink, then this won’t work well at all for them. (A program to save on *paper* might work better for a lot of people! *smile* ) You have to have some vague idea of what your “typical” printing habits are – a very rough idea of how much ink you generally use on average (or want to use) vs. how many pages you typically might need/want to print – to know whether Instant Ink will suit you or not.

        I think it was stated best in the article above —

        “Like a buffet for big eaters, the people who really save money on the subscription plan are those who regularly fill the page with colored ink. It’s well suited for people who use more than the average amount of colored ink consistently and have significant page coverage. These people might only get 1000 pages yield per XL cartridge. ”

        Although 1000 high-coverage-full-color pages per XL cartridge? Wow, if I could have achieved that previously, I would have been thrilled. Perhaps my previous Lexmark was a rotten printer, that’s quite entirely possible. But even with the high-capacity instant-ink cartridges now, I still use up a full color cartridge in far fewer pages than that. Granted, roughly 95% of what I print is full-color-coverage, the entire page filled 100% with intense color ink, and almost all of it printed in highest-quality mode possible, so I do slurp up a lot of ink per page!

        I can’t give a percentage savings, because previously, I didn’t do the type of printing I’m doing now – I couldn’t justify the cost of the ink I would have used, not for a hobby! I’m just now starting into my 9th month in the program — I got 4 months free when I signed up, but even IF I had been charged the $10/month for those 4 months, I still would be coming out at a cost of app. $8 per ink cartridge. That’s a good-enough deal for me! (and the convenience of having new cartridges delivered whenever I need them, no matter how frequently that might be – that’s quite helpful, as getting out is difficult for me sometimes)

        The program is obviously unsuitable for some people — iffy for others — and absolutely *incredible* for others! (Now – if only HP would come out with an Instant-Ink printer that would handle 12×12 pages, I’d be in heaven! )

  15. I found that I in fact wasn’t saving any money with the Instant Ink package. I called to cancel my service & gotta the run around on the phone as usual. I was told that the $20 I had spent already, was simply me borrowing their ink cartridges. And that I needed to return them by a certain day to avoid any further fees. Really it is just a waste of time and money. Even recently I had purchased a laptop from them & in under 30 days it no longer would turn on.

  16. Giant scam! DO not purchase instant ink. They will charge you every month and send you nothing in return. I cancelled my service and they have disabled my printer form using the ink cartridges that I have been paying for. Now I have 2 cartridges(1 color, 1 blck) that are half full that I have to throw away because they dont work. I called customer service and they were assholes about it and no help. Taking my money and running.

  17. Hello! Let me preface my comment by assuring you that I totally understand the viewpoints expressed here, and I am *not* in any way trying to dispute or belittle the problems and issues that have been experienced by others here. I genuinely feel bad that so many have had bad experiences with this program, honestly I do!

    As mentioned above, the Instant Ink program is almost certainly not a good choice for someone who prints in a “routine, everyday” manner — i.e. mostly just normal text documents, maybe an occasion color chart in the midst of a text page, some letters, reports, etc. Once in a blue moon, maybe printing one or two single photos, but not using “heavy-ink” at all. If that’s you – then, sure, the Instant Ink program likely isn’t a good idea for you.

    But, for certain people, this program is *incredible*! I’m sure there are other niches, but I do know for a lot of crafters, this is a wonderful program, and I hope to goodness that they never stop it. Among many other hobbies, I do a lot of papercrafting, card-making, scrapbooking & such crafts. Many craft companies, craft magazines, etc have put LOTS of wonderful resources online as free downloads– patterned papers, card templates, design elements for wonderful 3-dimensional projects, entire card-making kits, etc etc. – particularly companies in the UK (where “print-it-yourself” crafting is apparently very popular) I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t use those resources, because my printer ink was too expensive. An online friend in a crafting group told me about Instant Ink & described how much it had helped her. I bought a compatible HP printer, just so I could sign up for the service.

    Oh my goodness – this has been such a fantastic thing for me personally! I’m mostly home-bound these days, due to various health issues, and I’m a widow now, so I spend more time than ever with my hobbies, artwork & crafts. To be able to print out special papers, card designs, templates, etc etc- without constantly stressing out over how much ink I am using – it has been so wonderful! Papercraft is one of my favorite two hobbies, so now I get to spend much more time making things than I was able to previously. Not only am I having great fun, but it helps keep my mind occupied & not dwelling on my health all the time or crying over the loss of my dear husband (7 years & I still totally fall to pieces over losing him…) But if I keep busy & especially if I stay busy doing creative pursuits, it helps my peace of mind tremendously. I don’t ever worry about running out of ink either, as HP has always sent new cartridges long before I used up the old one.

    Again – I do understand & truly sympathize with those who’ve had so many problems – and I totally agree – this program is not for *everyone* — but omg, it is the “best thing since sliced bread” for some papercrafters & card makers! 🙂 And it has literally had a HUGE positive effect on my life! I love it & I only hope that they will continue the program for a long time. Though, if too many Instant Ink customers use as much ink as I have used, they’ll have to raise their prices for sure! *grin* (I’ve been going through an entire color cartridge every month on average, plus app. 1/4 – 1/3 of the black cartridge)

    1. Thanks for your thorough comments and sharing your experience with the HP ink program. It seems that the program works well for those who print precisely the same number of pages each month (no more, no less), and never have trouble with ink cartridges drying out prematurely, and always print the exact ‘sweat spot’ of pages per month to achieve the greatest savings.

    2. Preach it. I’m in one of those niches in a small business, and it’s saved me probably 25% in printer costs, plus convenience of not ordering it. Because HP’s cost in actually providing is fairly small, there is some rationale for keeping pricing stable as they may be happy with the increase in business even for us heavy color users, as I was not using HP products before. Let’s hope!

  18. I want to share with all of you my preposterous experience in attempting to find the details of HP Instant Ink’s terms of service, specifically concerning print yield. As a result, I discovered some astonishing and completely unethical tactics of their Instant Ink service while being a victim of some of HP’s corrupted marketing strategies that prevent most, if not all, customers from finding out the truth about services.
    After being redirected 9 times, and reading size 4 font on the bottom margin of one HP website, I found out why my printer was not printing in color after I changed my setting countless times. “HP color printer declared yield is determined using the ISO/IEC 19798 test methodology. Actual yield that a customer experiences can vary depending upon the printed content on the page. Highly “dense” documents, such as the text document below, may cause cartridges to yield fewer pages than the ISO standard, while less dense ones such as the organisation chart below will typically cause the cartridge to yield more pages than the standard. The yield you experience will depend upon a number of factors including the content that you print and the manner in which you print.” The actual print yield is based on 5% coverage per color.
    This information is not consumer friendly and HP will go to any lengths to cover it up. For example, my first resource to solve my problem of color printing was visiting HP customer support, in which they provided me with several solutions that had nothing to do with the problem. In fact, this problem has been visited in an HP Support forum 100,374 times, and all received incorrect information regarding their problem. In addition, HP Support offers 5 solution on their website, none of which work because they were based on printer error. The real solution is that there is none. When you signed up for HP InstantInk, you gave them permission to control what you print, when you print, and how you print.

  19. I was told to come here because the phone lines were unoccupied. I am not happy. This is costing me money. I had a tech ask for my wife and daughter’s phone #s today. When I asked him why he said so he could call them and invite himself over to f*&k them. Literally, he said that to me. Then another two or three have hung up on me. One wanted my money. A supervisor said I was being sent a new color ink cartridge, then the next guy wants money. All I want to do is print with my printer and the ink that I paid for regardless of what it says on it. You will find I’ve printed a total of maybe 50 pages with it. I’ve more than paid for the ink. $101. and change. You sent me a black cartridge and refunded me around ten bucks. But failed to inform me that my printer was hijacked. Best Buy informed me that when I agreed online to the Instant Ink contract you flashed my printer. Fine. That contract is null and void. Unflash my printer. If you consider the ink that I’ve paid $101. for yours, return me $70 more dollars and I’ll return the remainder of the ink. This is non-negotiable. Either relinquish control of my printer and those cartridges, or buy them back. But you damn well better fix it so the printer can print with regular cartridges. You are costing me. I will be consultin with my attorney if this matter is not resolved satisfactorily when I decide to get up tomorrow. I’m pretty much screwed already. I’m going to go to war and post this everywhere. None of it is slanderous or libelous. It is all true. It’s documented. Recorded. And I have witnesses. So please just make it so I can print. That’s all I want. And you do not want to be at war with me. I’ve been a pretty good customer. At least three laptops and the printer. If I wasn’t moving and leaving the printer, I’d still be doing the Instant Ink. So come on now. Let’s do right by each other. But I am through playing. I’m just saying. Semper fi

    1. Hi Roger, Thanks for sharing your experience here. From what you wrote, it seems like you re-posted your online feedback to HP on our page as well. That’s fine. I just want to make sure you have contacted HP directly since they won’t likely reply on this page.

  20. in all the time I’ve been enrolled in the Instant Ink program–a couple of years?–I have only needed/received an ink cartridge once. However, I’ve been billed for the program monthly.
    i’d like to know how i might get a refund for all of these fees.

  21. I was naive enough to enroll in HP’s instant ink program, when I purchased one of their “envy” printers. They have charged me over $8.00 for ink that I did not use and pages that were never printed. I cancelled my enrollment in this program expressly because they ripped me off. What did they do? Charged me over $8.00 for pulling out of their program. HP instant ink program is a huge rip off!!!

    1. There’s a simple solution for HP — they could offer the automatic refill program, but just send people the normal ink at a discount, and not disable printers remotely. They could just let people print, use store bought ink, or the auto-shipped ink. That would be in their best interest, but for some reason they don’t do this. They keep frustrating customers, and losing customers who will likely go buy Epson or Canon.

  22. Hi, all, I just wanted to share my experience. I’ve never once received a refill from the program, however I enrolled in it when I purchased my printer.

    In that time, my credit card has been replaced. There are other more important admin tasks to take care of when that happens…

    Anyway, this has just happened to me before xmas. I wanted to print a handful of custom made xmas messages and hand them out at xmas lunch…. but now, out of nowhere my printer was blocked. I couldn’t print. It was friggin ridiculous. My own printer. My own ink. Blocked remotely. All because I signed up to this stupid program, thinking, I’ll give it a go.

    I’ve since entered my cc details but still can’t print!

    Nice one HP, every time I think of your product I will now have the feeling of tightness in my throat about how you effed up one of life’s tiny little pleasures for xmas!


  23. It seems to me that HP being able to block or control their customers printers remotely is creepy! They kept sending me notifications on my printer and remotely turned on my printer after I opted out of their instant ink program!! I repeatedly had to shut off my printer! This creepy, remote intrusion stopped, I think, after I removed their instant ink cartridges and replaced them with ink cartridges from a Walmart store.

    Also, the HP ink cartridges that they sell in retail stores are much smaller that the ink cartridges that HP mails to you when you’re enrolled in their instant ink program. This discourages customers from opting out of their instant ink program.

  24. well i just bought a new hp printer office jet 5255 in august 2019 signed up to the instant ink program. used all of my original ink that was in the new printer box , new ink arrived in mail put them in , only printed a few papers, then it stopped, and what is weird, on instant ink page it says i am online , but it just will not make the connection, so i can not print anything, was on the phone with hp staff for over 2 hours, tried so many things, and he was stumped. this is what he says “looks like you might need a new printer.” the hp, i just bought in August that worked fine until i put the instant ink in the printer. i can not believe he said that. and on top of that i have to call back when i have time like tomorrow to see what they can do . Send me some more ink, something. Not for me to buy a new printer.

    1. Hi Frankie,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s really a disappointing situation. It would be interesting to know if you unsubscribe from instant ink, would that allow you to print again. The Instant Ink service requires an Internet connection to communicate with HP servers, and when possible a wifi connection can help printers get updates over the Internet as well. I hope they are able to help you out.

      Greg at Consumer Defense Resource Group

  25. It is clear that HP takes advantage of their customers and does not deserve our business.

    As it turns out, their printers — ink jet and laser — are rated well below both Brother and Canon by Consumer Reports (CR):

    There are many good choices — like the Canon Pixma G4210 that only uses *$6* worth of ink per year! Some HP models cost almost $190 per year!!

    So even if HP was not evil, there would be no reason to buy their printers.

    This comment was written on May 9, 2020. So depending upon when you read it, the ratings linked to above may be outdated. Be sure to get the latest CR ratings.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s