I bought an HP printer that came with an HP Instant Ink subscription a year ago. The subscription promises to send you ink when you're running low as long as you print within the designated number of pages.

I recently changed my card and figured I would let the subscription expire.

Fast forward to today. I go to print something and find that the printer is “unable to print” even though there is ample ink left in the cartridges. I press a button on the printer and it spits out a report that states the printer is unable to print, except for printer reports (!).

I dig a little (since the error message they show provides no additional information beyond not being able to print) and find this thread [0] in their support forum. It turns out that once the subscription is cancelled or suspended, you are no longer able to use the ink that has been sent to you. Some even report not being able to print with cartridges they bought independently.

It turns out that their terms state that you're buying the ability to print x pages and the ink is actually always owned by HP, even when in your possession.

This has to be one shadiest and just overall worst product experiences I've come across in a while.

Printers have always been a bit of a pain but since when did they have to be near permanently connected to the internet else threaten to cut you off from all of their capabilities.

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20230522114823/https://h30434.ww…