Region Coding of Printers and Cartridges and Toners

While we have had Region Coding of DVDs and Blu-Rays (SHONKY) for ages I was recently made aware of many companies such as HP, Canon, Brother, Epson have region coding enforcement on their printers. That means if you buy your cartridges or toners from say the USA and try to put them in your printer from EU the printer will not accept them unless the region code is reset. HP at least as an example charge for this resetting.

Is this worthy of a Shonky?


Yes, and another form of restricive trading to the detriment of consumers.


I have found that the Canon ink cartridges for what appear to be the same model printers sold in Australia and US have different product numbers, obviously to prevent consumers buying them overseas at much lower prices.

Not a problem for us as we buy all our non genuine Canon cartridges from The Ink Station at a fraction of the price of genuine Canon units.


Those aftermarkets may work until Canon etc enforce genuine cartridge usage (some brands now reject non genuine). In some printers you can’t even scan without cartridges/toners being installed (they can be empty but they must be in the printer). Why is a cartridge particularly if empty necessary for a non printing job?


Just another rip-off.

When the last HP multifunction we had failed due to an inherent problem whereby a spring would pierce a ribbon connector, it would no longer scan or fax.

I thought that something had been done regarding manufacturers being able to stop aftermarket cartridges due to claims that the software was proprietary.

Some years ago when the manufacturers were doing so, the workaround was to unsolder the small PCB on the genuine cartridge and install it on the aftermarket cartridge.

More than one way to skin a cat.


Well here is a laugh for you:

HP speak for why they region code “HP customizes some printers and ink cartridges to meet local customer needs” So the colour they can print in is different to the colours we can print in? Yeah, right, pull the other one it plays jingle bells HP!


From the HP support link:

HP customizes some printers and ink cartridges to meet local customer needs.

What complete and utter b******t! Another reason I would not buy an HP printer, ever.

Choice and its brethren should consider refusing to test (probably overkill considering some consumers are happy to buy OEM) or minimally cease recommending products from any manufacturer no matter how good the printer is, for playing games enforcing OEM and now region encoded carts?

Last I looked graphics are, and print is, regardless of language or country. It is reminiscent of ‘Japan Inc’ trying to keep out foreign made ski kit because it might not provide the same performance as Japanese products in Japanese snow. (1980’s or early 90’s from memory)


Snap @PhilT :smile:

And I agree that there should be a ban on region coded product.


How about those race conditions :grin:


Excellent nomination @grahroll!

It seems that the big printer manufacturers are forever working on ways to restrict our purchasing choices to only their own brand.


I don’t understand why people buy genuine manufacturer ink cartridges when the generic cartridges do just as good a job, are tested for compatibility (the better sellers such as do this) and are much cheaper in cost. The difference in visual output literally negligible to the naked eye, and frankly why would I want to willingly subsidize the profit margins of the printer manufacturers?


If your printer supports using generics then certainly they are a huge cost saving, sadly as addressed above not all allow generics or even changing regions easily.

My Brother Colour Laser allows generics and I use them without fail, my HP did not (nor was it very obvious that it didn’t, small print on the box), so it got the heave ho at the first opportunity. Sometimes though for picture quality and longevity some Ink Jets inks surpass lasers. This is where the region and OEM cartridge locking in becomes a pain.


I’ve worked in MENA off and on for 8 years. Had two HP printers kept and used there, both purchased in Australia, in that time, and discovered with both that even the genuine HP cartridge type was not available in Dubai, so I have always needed to buy replacement cartridges in Australia.


Never buying a HP printer again due to the bloatware software that is installed by default with the software drivers.


I’ll tell you of a much greater shonky on behalf on the major printer manufacturers:

For the last month, I’ve been cycling through my suburb during hard rubbish collection, and I am appalled at the number of printers that have been used until the toner runs out and then thrown out. It would not be an exaggeration to say there’s one at every second or third house!!

The printer manufacturers (I’m particularly looking at you Canon!) charge nothing for a printer, but a king’s ransom for toner, so they directly contribute to this problem. And our landfills are filling fast with the resultant e-waste.

That warrants a shonky IMHO!



All region coding should be made illegal.

Quite apart from scepticism that this is even true - it isn’t answering the question. What is the customisation? Giving it a different model number and region code?


Not supposed to be going into landfill but …


Even after removal of anything that is recoverable (economically) the rest is either sent to landfill and some is barreled up as it is so dangerous it can’t be easily/safely disposed of. Cadmium, Arsenic among those too dangerous to put back.


RoHS is supposed to be making that less of a problem but …


Another reason for people throwing out printers at the moment may be the updates of Microsoft 10. These have rendered many older printers and cameras unusable as they are no longer compatible. Try uninstalling Microsoft Edge! It forces you to use Bing as a search engine and limits what you can search on it – try searching Google products – and forces you to choose compatible peripherals. After the first major update you couldn’t attach anything using USB connections, but this got fixed after major howls from us poor consumers.