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Lexmark firmware update to be investigated Jan 13, 2011 08:48 by Matt Bird

Lexmark are to be investigated by the Office of Fair trading and the Trading Standards Institute, due to a huge number of complaints from customers whom have downloaded the new firmware update to find it is blocking the use of third-party cartridges.

The outcome of this case will be of huge interest to not just users of Lexmark ink cartridges, but any individual with printer ink cartridge demands for their business or household.

A decision either way in this investigation will have huge ramifications in the printing industry, potentially opening the floodgates for other manufacturers to follow suit.

Lexmark have been unable to comment thus far, but expect some “this is not an anti-competitive activity” noises to come from them soon.

This update at present seems to be linked to printers which take the Lexmark 100 ink cartridge range.

We advise all customers to avoid implementing this update (as I have on my pro 208), and ensure you can still enjoy competitive pricing and actual choice when looking to refill your machine!

Matthew Bird+ is “Printer Man” at, and writes the helpful articles you all love. When not writing about printers, he is dreaming about printers, and he is happy that way.

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  1. Simon says:

    You may be interested to know that the same problem has now hit the C540n colour laser, as a result of an undocumented “feature” in a firmware update released in 2013. My printer is now just a useless flashing plastic box.

  2. robert.smith says:

    its to late for me i installed the update and now my s405 will only print with the black ink .

  3. Sue says:

    I had purchased another set of cartridges from another supplier as I always like to have some in advance. (I live in France and can’t get reasonably priced compatibles here. I go to the UK every 2 months) I decided to try their cartridges after the 2 of yours didn’t work. My printer recognised their cyan cartridge but not the magenta. So it’s not just your cartridges that have a problem. Could you contact me by email please.

  4. Matt Bird says:

    Hi Sue,

    We’re not aware any other firmware issues, and we’ve certainly not heard of any recurring problems from other customers so it sounds like you’ve got a cartridge issue there.

    I’ll get a member of our customer service team to contact you now so we can get this sorted for you, and either get those 2 cartridges working or get replacements out to you!

  5. Sue says:

    I have just installed 3 x 2nd generation cartridges purchased from you in May. The printer does not recognise 2 out of the 3 cartridges. I get the message that my cyan and magenta cartridges are empty. The yellow cartridge shows full. This is the second set of the new generation cartridges I have installed. The first set, (sent by Stinkyink as a replacement for the cartridges rendered useless by the firmware update,) worked perfectly. Have they done another sneaky update? I assure you I have not authorised any firmware updates.

  6. John Z says:

    Has Lexmark only done the one firmware update or have they done more recently as I just updated last week
    and would like to know if there are more issues now with 2nd generation chips?

  7. John says:

    Do we know where this investigation is up to guys?

  8. Jan says:

    My god! Can you stop crying like babies? Just buy one single set of 100a oder 100xla lexmark cartridges and you can use their RFID chips forever with any other refilled or third party cartridge.

    @ Linda:
    No printer will ever download and install a new firmware without being forced by the user. If you don’t know what you are doing and klick on every button you can find, then do not complain.

  9. Peter says:

    Thanks StinkyInk for sorting this awful issue Lexmark has inflicted upon us and the replacement cartridges. As a senior figure with many many contacts in IT in the UK and beyond I have emailed EVERYONE I know, facebook, linkedin etc warning them of this. Also how StinkyInk have responded positively. Anyone know how the OFT / Trading Standards are doing with their case?

  10. Kam Singh says:

    Shall I buy a new Printer yet? I can’t even scan or photo copy with my S305!
    For the same price of the Ink I can buy another all in one printer.

  11. Linda Green says:

    Lexmark had me update my firmware this morning, August 1, 2011. I was not aware of this unjust procedure. When i learned what had happened, i asked them to undo what they had done. Of course, this was met with no adjustment. They stated they would send me 1 black replacement cartridge (for the one my printer would not authorize (it worked perfectly until immediately after the update of firmware) and now I am without a printer. They said that is all they could do for me and told me to purchase my printer cartridges from them. i explained that i had purchased many cartridges from, on line, and they had been working beautifully. I purchase from on line, or other sources, because of my financial savings received when compared to Lexmark prices. No comment was made. I asked the tech support person to please note (and be saure it is recorded) that customer is very displeased.
    Although I purchased this printer 10 months ago, I am looking into purchasing a new printer from a different company, one who is not working as Lexmark does.. I pray no one else suffers as a result of Lexmark practices.

  12. Larry Burrows says:

    If you made the same mistake that many did and downloaded Lexmark’s VIRUS (I mean, their “update”), you can fix it. It’s not quick, but it works.
    IF you do this carefully, without making errors that will fry your box, you can beat this!
    1) Get rid of absolutely, positively EVERYTHING on your computer related to Lexmark (scour the registry, look for LEX, LXEE, Printer, Software, Spool, Scan, etc.). I needed more than one program and LOTS of time.
    2) Block Lexmark from ANY access to your computer ever again. You now have a pretty good, cheap Lexmark with no support and no warranty. (You can’t have those if you want to use “unauthorized” cartridges.)
    3) Get ONE set of overpriced Lexmark cartridges. (If you call with a printhead complaint, they might send a free set.)
    4) When the Lexmark cartridges are empty (sooner than non-authorized cartridges) peel off the tape that hides the chip (on the narrow edge of the cartridge). Note the location.
    5) Get good, cheap replacement cartridges. Peel off the replacement cartridge tape and remove the replacement cartridge chip.
    6) Put the old Lexmark chip in the same location on the replacement cartridge as it was on the Lexmark cartridge.
    7) Reinstall the printer from the disc.
    8) Make a fuss! Holler! Bring lawsuits! General Motors used to advertise, “Buy genuine GM parts”. At least with a GM, if you bought “unauthorized” parts, the car STILL RAN! You voided the warranty and took the risk. BUT THEY DIDN’T OWN YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT something from their CORPORATION!!
    Good luck!

  13. UN-INK THE DEAL says:

    Even if you say you don’t want the upgrade, once you ask to see what the upgrade includes, it automatically downloads and IT IS OVER!! EVERYONE should call, email Lexmark to complain! Return the printer if it’s still under warranty. Post the information on message boards. It’s not just Lexmark, it’s every major corporation in the world. At least in the old days, the only thing that happened if you didn’t “Buy Genuine GM Parts” is that your warranty was voided. The damned automobile didn’t stop running!!

  14. Rune says:


  15. Rune says:

    I have the same problem, and I am so fed up ith printers, I have contacted one of the big newspapers in Denmark, to get the message out about newer buyin a Lexmark. I won’t stop until people know…

  16. Nancy says:

    I had some issues with my Lexmark Interpret S405 WiFi printer for which I had to update the software. Now my ink cartridges are useless just like everyone else here. I would like to uninstall the firmware also…

  17. Sean says:

    My printer was acting up printing grey squares and lexmark advised me to update all the software which I did and not I have this silly firmware update that renders my ink cartridges unusable. I refuse to go and buy Lexmark cartridges on principle now. Is there anyway to uninstall the firmware update on my printer and reinstall the old firmware. What products do you guys have that work with the Lexmark Interpret S405, that aren’t Lexmark?

  18. John says:

    I have looked at this in some detail. Lexmark offer two series of their cartridges, one is labelled as ‘Return Program’ ink cartridge. This cartridge will NOT refill. The other variety is a standard cartridge, however although Lexmark list these part numbers none of their distributors stock them and they are very much more expensive than the ‘Return Program’ cartridges. Now I am not saying that this may be a sneaky way of getting round the refill/remanfacture process – or am I?

  19. Jan says:

    No, you can’t. Only original 100A and 100XLA cartridges can be refilled.

  20. lorenzo says:

    Hi Matt,

    tank you for yor job it good for evrybody.
    Sorry for my english it dos’work too much.
    I hawe a questyon for you, if i buy a compleet set of ink cadtdige lexmark 100 (not original), at the and of ink, can i refill my self without reset any chip?


  21. […] Lexmark have published a Facebook message in an attempt to defend their recent Firmware update which has caused such controversy. […]

  22. Matt says:

    Hi Matteo,

    Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been hit by the firmware update as well.

    Yes our compatibles will work with that update, and we do ship to Italy. Check out our European Delivery Options before you place your order so you can see the delivery costs etc.

  23. Matteo says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’m glad to see you sorted out how to fool this fraud by Lexmark!!
    I’ve just fallen in the firmware upgrade Lexmark_Pro200-S500_Series_E021011_00_FWUpdate of my Prospect Pro 205 yesterday and I notice my just-refilled black cartridge doesn’t work any more!!! The printer itself says there could be ink there argghhh it’s FULL OF INK!!! I had to print so I just bought an original #100 but this silently installed system is a real fraud and I want to get rid of it NOW, I think we should hear a lawyer to do a class action, are there chances to win!? Anyway, I see you have compatible cartridges, are they certified for this firmware too? Can I buy a complete set of cartridges from you and then just refill them as usual with ink by my own? I’m from Italy, hope you can send them here. Thanks.

  24. Matt says:

    Wow Jennifer that sounds horrendous. What has been the problem with the 2 you have had replaced?

    My home Lexmark tried to do the firmware update again last night. Nice try Lexmark, better luck next time :)

  25. Jennifer says:

    My 901 Pinnacle has been a NIGHTMARE! I am on my 3 rd printer sent to me by the Comapny! They have sent me 3 NEW printheads and NOTHING WORKS!

    I bought it in JAN. 2011 and it only worked for 3 days!

  26. […] with the huge reaction to the Lexmark firmware update (just take a look at all the happy comments), I don’t think Lexmark are finding a happy home […]

  27. simon alex says:

    I downloaded the update and will not be using lexmark again. The ink cartridges price to too high. Dont buy Lexmark printers.They should have warned customers what the update was.

  28. k singh says:

    I stupidly downloaded the new firmware and cannot use the compatible ink cartridges. I will never buy a lexmark again. I do hope the ink firms find a way around this. Lexmark are so crafty and underhand in doing this. Lets all boycott Lexmark. Their orginal ink cartridges are nearly the cost of the printer itself.

  29. Matthew Bird says:

    Hi Ginni.

    Firstly can we say we are sorry to hear you have also experienced this horrendous Lexmark firmware update.

    Don’t fret that you can still use compatibles for your Lexmark printer, all of the cartridges we sell are now Generation 2 and will work without issue in the updated Lexmark printers.

    We would recommend contacting your retailer regarding your 12 now-useless cartridges, as they may be running the same guarantee we run at Stinkyink, allowing you to get your cartridges replaced and meaning your money isn’t wasted.

    We’ll let you, and all our other customers, know when we hear more regarding legal proceedings. It will definitely be interesting to see how this develops as it will set an interesting legal precedent either way!

    Thank you for your comment and we hope you manage to get your cartridges sorted.

  30. Ginni Manley says:

    It is true that the firmware “upgrade” that is promoted as improving the functionality as a part of the user process for installing the printer to an additional pc does render the printer useless – until one purchases Lexmark cartridges. Which I will not do. Thus the printer is totally non-functional. I will be delighted to join any class action lawsuits against Lexmark. Please make me aware of them as they become known. I will also take great delight in letting everyone I come across in my line of work -technology based – know of this horrendous business practice and my family and friends will be warned against any thing Lexmark produces.

    I have around 12 cartridges (for a Prospect 205 Pro model)- Non-Lexmark on hand that obviously I will not be using. If you haven’t yet installed the firmware update and can use them – they are for sale – at a very reasonable rate

  31. Sue says:

    Hi Matthew. Sorted! My replacement cartridges arrived on Saturday. Thanks so much for your brilliant customer service. I will send you my old cartridges when I next go to the UK.

  32. Sue says:

    Me again. I just had an email from Huw and I tried to reply but I still can’t send messages to any of your email addresses. Here is a copy of my message as at least the blog works!

    Order number SL652010155406


    After I left a message for Matthew Bird on your blog, he kindly offered to replace my old generation Lexmark cartridges. A member of your sales team tried to contact me yesterday morning on the phone number of my account. As this is my mother’s number and I live in France, obviously I wasn’t there.

    I purchased 2 multipacks, STLEX100PACK, but have already used one. So it is just 1 pack which has been rendered useless by the firmware update.

    Could you please contact me by email or by phone, 00 33 2 35 80 27 51 to let me know what I should do.



  33. Matthew Bird says:

    @ Peppe – You will have to contact your retailer to see what guarantees cover your purchase. Here at Stinkyink we replaced all cartridges that experienced the problem free of charge.

    In regards to a solution, all of the compatibles now listed on our site are generation 2 and will work with the firmware update, thanks!

    @ Sue – That is strange, our service team is up and running as normal. I have forwarded your email details to them so they can contact you via email and get this sorted.

  34. Sue says:

    Hi Matthew. I have been trying to contact your sales team via email about the above message (April 7th) but I keep getting an undelivered mail message. Is it a problem at my end or yours? Sue

  35. Peppe says:

    I bought this cartridges from another seller that did not advised me about this issue. So I now feel into a fraud but I also understand that’s not his fault as I updated the firmware though. Anyway if is there a chip solution I could be very glad if you can assist me. I think it is a general problem and my cartridges will end and I obviously need a reliable supplier a day cause I am very happy about this printer……..but now!

  36. Matthew Bird says:

    Hi Peppe,

    As far as we are aware it is not possible to downgrade the firmware.

    Generation 2 cartridges are now available, so if you purchased them from us then please do get in touch with our sales team and we can look at getting the issue resolved for you!

  37. Peppe says:

    Hi after 2 month since I bought my compatible ink cartridge I discovered to have updated the S405 firmware and now the cartridges are not been recognised. (It’s the first time i change the cartridges, had the original ones till now.) Tried to have a look for the original firmaware over the internet in order to downgrade it but had no success. Did anyone fix the firmware update problem? thank you in advance.

  38. Sue says:

    Hi Matthew. My mother phoned to say you phoned this morning. As I live in France, obviously I wasn’t there. I will get in touch with you by email. Thanks for your help. Sue

  39. Matthew Bird says:

    Hi Sue,

    It is quite amazing the update is still rolling out across individuals printers. It does indeed mean we will provide replacements for the old generation cartridges no longer working :-)

    I have got a member of our customer service team contacting you to get this all sorted, lets get your printer back up and running!

  40. Sue says:

    Hi. I have the same problem and I wasn’t even at home when my printer was updated. It happened during the automatic head cleaning process which takes place when your printer is inactive for over a week. Matthew Bird, above, advised Fritz to contact his supplier for a replacement of his cartridges. Does that mean that Stinkyink will replace any 3rd party cartridges purchased from them with new generation cartridges? If so, how do I go about getting a replacement?

  41. Bill says:

    There is no doubt that it was Lexmarks firmware update that caused it as the cartridges were working perfectly well for weeks before

  42. Bill says:

    What a pity I hadn’t seen this blog before I “recycled” the wasted cartridges to the bin and then succumbed to the Lexmark on line purchase blackmail to make sure that my printer works. What did we do before printers and Lexmark.

    Anybody got self fill kits for Lexmark Interpret S405 cartridges and bulk ink

  43. Matthew Bird says:

    Hello Fritz, welcome to the Stinkyink blog.

    You’ll need to get in touch with your supplier to replace those 3rd party cartridges, for the new generation of cartridges that work with the firmware update!

    Hope this helps, let us know if there is anything we can help with.

  44. Fritz says:

    I used the new firmware 021011 today, not knowing about the problem. Now it doesn’t see my 3rd party cartridge anymore….

  45. Jan says:

    New Firmware 021011 is out. To install or not to install, that’s the question!

  46. Thank you for all your feedback.

    We are pleased to announce that our Generation 2 Compatible Lexmark 100 cartridges are now available!

    We have tested them on our in-house Lexmark machines and they do indeed work after the firmware update.

    They are now listed on the website under the printers that take the Lexmark 100 and 108s, and we will do our best to keep you updated on any further news from Lexmark.

    Happy printing :)

  47. Cara R. says:

    I wish I had known about this earlier in the week! My Lexmark Pro 705 was not communicating with my laptop, so I had to re-install. Of course, I was offered the opportunity to update and I did. Aaarrgggh! I just submitted an inquiry into a class action suit, as well as searching out all other possible methods of circumventing this problem. I now have a useless 4-in-1 because it won’t even scan or FAX!

    @Paul – I will have to try that! My printer is about 9 months old and I *need* to use it for so many things. The only reason I didn’t throw it out the window months ago was because I was saving so much money with compatible cartridges. As it is now, it is worthless to me. If I have to pay for Lexmark ink, it will still be useless to me because I will NOT do it. I will buy another printer first. Lexmark loses either way! Stupid!

  48. Nigel Stokes says:

    I too have registered for Lexmark support services. I have not noticed any firmware update being offered so far. Is it automatic and would I have seen it happening?

  49. Paul Leadbeater says:

    I’m glad to see you are (hopefully) going to crack the disgraceful situation that Lexmark have created with their 112510 firmware update – I, too, am one of those unfortunates saddled with unremovable firmware that checks for OEM cartridges!
    I have managed to fool the printer into thinking it has a Lexmark cartridge by taping the chip from a genuine Lexmark cartridge to the top of a compatible one – this does validate correctly but, without the ability to ‘reset’ the chip, the printer will eventually lock itself (when it thinks the cartridge is really empty).
    Are you considering producing any rechipping equipment as part of your current experimentations?

  50. Beppe says:

    I have selected Lexmark for the capability to run with compatible ink cartridges. After this bad firmware update the printer in worth nothing to me.

    Never a LEXMARK again !

  51. Sumeena Birdi says:

    I am a paralegal at a law firm that is investigating Lexmark’s firmware upgrade and how it may constitute an unfair business practice. We are researching a number of issues related to the firmware upgrade, and we would love to hear about people’s experiences. We are interested in talking to anyone who can help in our research. Here is a link to the page on our website dedicated to this issue:

  52. doug smith says:

    I actually had registered my printer for support services! This is what I got for my trouble.

  53. Natasha says:

    How did you receive notification that you needed to update firmware in the first place?

  54. doug smith says:

    I also installed the firmware and now the cartridges i have been using for about a month no longer work. so not only do I have to purchase “Genuine” cartidges, I lost my investment in what was clearly a good alternative. The complaint posting says this was all done to improve our printing experience. I was having a great time and actually had recommended the S605 to a friend. Luckily I was able to stop them and steer them to a different brand. I suggest anyone who reads these logs, contact Lexmark and complain. Maybe if they get enough complaints they will put out another “fix” and make my printing exprience what it was.

  55. Mike says:

    I’m also in the “scr3wed by lexmark” category

    I noticed a new firmware released today, and had a vain hope that they had relented in the light of the negative press. I just installed it and no joy, still throwing out copy cartridges. I’m loth to pay their extortionate prices for ink.

    The 100A (non-prebate) cartridges can supposedly be refilled, but they’re also difficult to find – After all, the idea of a regular repeat income is quite attractive to all the major resellers……

    • John (Mr. Stinkyink) Sollars says:

      Hi Mike, the non Prebate cartridges are not available full stop!. We have been talking to our cartridge factory and they have rechipped the compatible cartridges, I am waiting for some samples to come over for us to try (we’ve got a test printer here) and as soon as we are happy we’ll email all of our customers to let them know that the new compatibles are available – hopefully next month some time, check the website regularly

  56. R Gilbert says:

    I downloaded it and now cannot print until I replace the cartridges!
    The government want competition, it privatised water, gas etc so this should be illegal!

  57. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stinky Ink, Becca Thorne and Stinky Ink. Stinky Ink said: Any users of Lexmark cartridges should give this a quick read, important legal happenings :O […]