Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


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One of the things I shipped out from the UK was a HP printer along with a few spare ink cartridges. When the printer told me that it was getting low on ink, I headed down to the computer shop a few minutes walk from our flat.

There was a stand of HP print cartridges on the far side of the shop. I looked along the rack for cartridge 300… it wasn’t there. I asked the salesman where I would find it. Not only did he not have any, he had not heard of that number.

A little bit of web research told me that cartridge number 300 is for European printers. Cartridges for the identical printer sold in the Middle East or the USA would be numbered differently and would not work in my machine… also they are priced differently according to the market. I don’t quite understand the reason behind regionalisation, other than it must be a ‘bottom-line’ decision.

I had a few replacement cartridges shipped out to Doha, but the last of the black ink is now getting low so I have now decided to get HP to swap the regionalisation to the Middle East so that local cartridges will work. I have spoken with the local HP service centre. They tell me I will just need to contact them again once the cartridge is empty and they will talk me through changing a setting in the hidden maintenance menu.

I gather from various online forums that I can change back to ‘Europe’ at some time in the future but that only two changes are permitted. I am not sure this is correct, but if so, it is a restrictive practice.

If you are thinking of bringing a printer with you to Doha, my advice would be to leave it behind, save on the shipping costs and buy a cheap one here instead.


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