Canon sues $ 5 million for shutting down scanner when printers run out of ink

Hot potatoes: Canon, best known for making cameras and printers for business and home users, is being prosecuted for preventing customers from using scan or fax functions in multifunctional devices when ink runs out on many printers. David Lycraft has filed a class action lawsuit against Canon USA, alleging that the company is engaged in fraudulent marketing and illegal enrichment.

Leacraft decided to file a lawsuit after discovering that the Pixma MG2522 printer it purchased, advertised as a “multifunction device”, would not function as a scanner when the ink cartridges are low or empty. Moreover, the faxing feature will not work when some printers run out of ink.

Of course, no ink is required to scan or fax documents, so the complaint emphasizes that these features should work regardless of ink levels. Thus, a trial involving more than 100 students looking for not less than USD 5,000,000 in awards.

One of the alleged violations in the complaint includes unjust enrichment; the lawsuit says Canon has turned off these features to increase profits by selling replacement cartridges.

Other alleged violations listed in the complaint are New York General Business Law Sections 349 and 350, Canon’s breach of its express warranties and disclaimer of material information.

“Unlike the ‘single function’ printers on sale, Canon calls these multifunctional devices ‘3-in-1’ or ‘4-in-1’ because they supposedly provide three or four functions. In truth, all -in-One Printers do not scan or fax documents when they run out of cartridges or are empty (“Design Issue”), and Canon’s advertising claims are false, misleading and likely to be misleading. misleading the public.

Canon does not represent or advise consumers that ink is essential for scanning or faxing documents. As a result, consumers are forced to bear the unexpected and unnecessary burden and expense of buying ink or, alternatively, are unable to scan or fax documents using a so-called all-in-one device.

There is no reason or technical justification for producing multifunction printers with an ink-level detection function that causes the scanner to stop working when ink is low or out of ink. Canon designed the MFP to require consumers to retain ink in their devices, regardless of whether they intend to print. The result is an increase in ink sales, from which Canon is making significant profits. ”

To further strengthen its position, the complaint also contains evidence that inkjet printers are being sold at or below cost, and companies expect to profit from the sale of ink cartridges.

Charles LeCompte, head of Lyra Research, a research firm in Newton, Massachusetts, said:[t]Years ago, the industry came to the conclusion that once people buy a printer, they become committed, so you can sell the printer at or below the price knowing that they will buy cartridges. ”

According to a 2018 Consumer Reports article, inkjet printers are selling at a low price with the expectation that companies will profit by selling ink cartridges needed to run the machines. “Most printers are sold at a loss. A manufacturer makes money NOT by selling inkjet or laser printers to consumers, but by selling supplies needed for printing. “

As BleepingComputer discovered, the problems were reported since at least 2016. Support agents responded that ink cartridges must be installed in the product, which must contain ink in order to use the full functionality of the printer.

“The PIXMA MX710 must have all ink tanks installed and they must all contain ink. If you try to print without ink or with empty ink, you risk damaging the printer, ”said a support agent on the Canon forum. This specific answer was included in the lawsuit as evidence.

According to the complaint, the affected MFPs include more than 20 models found so far. The class action lawsuit was filed Tuesday and is awaiting court approval.

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