Canon sued for $5 million for disabling scanner when printers run out of ink

zakislam

Posts: 52   +1
A hot potato: Canon, best known for manufacturing camera equipment and printers for business and home users, is being sued for not allowing customers to use the scan or fax functions in multi-function devices if the ink runs out on numerous printer models. David Leacraft filed a class action lawsuit against Canon USA, alleging the company engaged in deceptive marketing and unjust enrichment practices.

Leacraft decided to file the lawsuit upon discovering a Pixma MG2522 printer he purchased, advertised as an "all-in-one" machine, would not function as a scanner when ink cartridges are either low or empty. Moreover, faxing capabilities would not work when certain printers ran out of ink as well.

Of course, ink is not required to perform scanning or faxing documents, so the complaint stresses these features should function regardless of ink levels. As such, the lawsuit, which involves more than 100 class members, seeks at least $5,000,000 in awards.

One of the alleged violations in the complaint includes unjust enrichment; the lawsuit states that Canon has disabled these functions to increase profits by selling replacement ink cartridges.

Other alleged violations listed in the complaint are New York General Business Law § 349 and 350, Canon breaching its express warranties, and failure to disclose material information.

"As opposed to the "single function" printers it sells, Canon calls these multifunction devices a "3-in-1" or "4-in-1" for the fact they purportedly provide three or four functions. In truth, the All-in-One Printers do not scan or fax documents when the devices have low or empty ink cartridges (the "Design Issue"), and Canon's advertising claims are false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public.

Canon does not represent or warn consumers that ink is a necessary component in order to scan or fax documents. As a result, consumers are forced to incur unexpected and unnecessary burden and expense in the form of ink purchases or in the alternative be unable to scan or fax documents using the so-called all-in-one device.

There is no reason or technical basis for manufacturing the All-in-One Printers with an ink level detection function that causes the scanner to stop functioning when ink is low or empty. Canon designed the All-in-One Printers in such a way to require consumers to maintain ink in their devices regardless of whether they intend to print. The result is an increase in ink sales from which Canon obtains significant profits."

To further strengthen its case, the complaint also contains evidence pertaining to how inkjet printers are being sold at or below cost, with companies expecting to generate profits via sales of ink cartridges.

"Charles LeCompte, head of Lyra Research, a market research firm in Newton, Massachusetts stated, "[t]he industry figured out years ago that once people buy a printer they are committed to it, so you can sell the printer at or below cost knowing they will buy the cartridges."

According to a 2018 Consumer Reports article, inkjet printers are being sold at a low cost, with the expectation that companies would make their profit through sales of the ink cartridges needed for the functioning of the machines. "Most printers are sold at a loss. A manufacturer makes money NOT by selling consumers an inkjet or laser printer, but by selling the supplies needed to print."

As discovered by BleepingComputer, the problems have been reported since at least 2016. Support agents responded by stating that ink cartridges have to be installed in the machine, and must contain ink in order to utilize all of the printer's features.

"The PIXMA MX710 must have all ink tanks installed and they all must contain ink. If you attempt to print with no ink or an empty ink, you would risk damaging the printer," a support agent said on the Canon forum. This specific response was included as a piece of evidence in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the all-in-one printers affected include more than 20 models discovered thus far. The class action lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and is awaiting approval from the court.

Permalink to story.

 

BSim500

Posts: 869   +2,018
Let's hope Canon along with HP & Epson get raked over the coals on this way overdue BS. Throw in other crap too like deliberately excessive cleaning cycles on non-clogged heads designed to waste as much ink as possible, abnormally short expiry dates on cartridges whose DRM acts like a premature kill-switch on cartridges containing otherwise perfect ink, how much bribe money gets spent 'encouraging' retailers to drop their own brand, etc.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 6,028   +6,390
You find one corporation not engaged in similar scams, I'll be a believer. First customer in, the second one is a scam artist. That's the evil of money.
 

Milkyjoe

Posts: 56   +43
I opened up my Hp ink cartridge and the sponge holding the ink was a quarter the size of the cartridge, and the cartridge I have now run out very quick since I had it just in case, and never really used it and it stop working like someone flipped a switch.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,351   +7,163
I went to Brother years ago for that specific problem ... these companies seem to think somehow they gain when they piss off their customers. Used to be a loyal HP customer until they started failing to make software upgrades for their products in effort to get people to go out and buy a new printer. Needless to say I will never use, endorse, or tolerate ANY other HP product again ......
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,228   +577
Your comment is completely worthless. There are obviously some models this applies to. Canon cited the requirement in the support response and the class action is going ahead precisely from the issue. What exactly is your contribution here?
His contribution was that his model doesn't have the issue. Nothing wrong with that statement.
What you could have responded with was that not all models may the issue as only 20 or so models of Canon printers have been confirmed with issue. So it's likely some models may not have the issue.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,654   +6,442
I have a Canon and had never that problem.
It's probably a "feature" installed in new units, or implemented via, "firmware updates"..

A while back, HP d!cked around with their printers so that they wouldn't run with any other replacement cartridges, but those sold by HP itself.
 
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kiwigraeme

Posts: 659   +502
Plus can't print b&w if cyan empty

Do your homework - unless for photos or professional work - cheap knock off ink ok .
Older printers - Ink dried out in a month.
or pay money get a commercial one with top up tanks .
Sometimes google is your friend holding OK button I think allows to carry on printing on some machines .
 

ChrisH1

Posts: 174   +76
In plain sight the scam was the machine was cheaper than a full set of inks.
True, but in many cases the cartridges are low-capacity low-use ones. On a $ per page basis it's probably cheaper to buy new cartridges than go out and buy a new printer, otherwise everyone would do it.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,328   +2,586
Let's see your paper print get hacked by cyberturds.
Document forgery has been a thing for centuries, not to mention how much we take for granted having a clean, dry place to permanently store paperwork that's prone to being damaged by water and moisture, insects and rodents, burning, etc.

And on top of that...It's probably inherently easier to pick a lock and swipe a folder than it is to get inside a modern data center mainframe to get the digital files. Actually to really secure paper documents in the modern world, a government agency or dependency probably needs controlled access and close circuit and those things well guess what? They still work better if we have computers connected to them so we need the IT infrastructure anyway, might as well just save space and resources and use a single server rack vs thousands of square meters of office space for archiving.
 

dacoll

Posts: 9   +6
Let's hope Canon along with HP & Epson get raked over the coals on this way overdue BS. Throw in other crap too like deliberately excessive cleaning cycles on non-clogged heads designed to waste as much ink as possible, abnormally short expiry dates on cartridges whose DRM acts like a premature kill-switch on cartridges containing otherwise perfect ink, how much bribe money gets spent 'encouraging' retailers to drop their own brand, etc.
Epson, at least in my country, have introducing tank based printer ink that way much more cheaper than cartridge. It become solution in my office since 2013, and we just have switch to newer epson printer just 2 years ago gradually.
 

dacoll

Posts: 9   +6
Yeah Canon, I remember troubleshooting many Canon Printer scanner on my first day of work in early 2013 in my current office. Mostly they cant scan because they think the cart is empty, Im also thinking why it cant be functioned properly when we just need to scan, after reading this im understand why the cart (original one) are so expensive than the printer itself, we usually ended up modding it with ink tank system, that sadly prone to made the printer broke fast
 

Namtrooper

Posts: 118   +63
I went to Brother years ago for that specific problem ... these companies seem to think somehow they gain when they piss off their customers. Used to be a loyal HP customer until they started failing to make software upgrades for their products in effort to get people to go out and buy a new printer. Needless to say I will never use, endorse, or tolerate ANY other HP product again ......
I personally respect Brother printer and their interfaces are easy to use and not as convoluted as the rest. Oh and I work in the IT service industry and setting up the scanning and printing software for Brother always just seem much easier and reliable.
 
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Abaidor

Posts: 10   +15
Epson, at least in my country, have introducing tank based printer ink that way much more cheaper than cartridge. It become solution in my office since 2013, and we just have switch to newer epson printer just 2 years ago gradually.

I bought an A3 L1800 EPSON 3 years ago and have forgotten what ink is.........besides ink tanks being cheap they are also huge!
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,164   +205
Honestly I think most inkjet printers are not only scam but also #1 in the e-waste contributor.

in my life I've been through at least 5 different printers (some of them are freebies) and the reason is simple, it's became too expensive to operate the machine. all-in-one printer costs few dollars more than standalone inkjet printer so most people will buy aio printer. and when the printer fails, there it goes into the trash, nobody is saving it for the scanner because the new one is cheaper and that's why I'm not surprised it has taken this long before someone took a class action suit.

personally I've went with aio brother which has refillable ink tanks 7 years ago, to replace my lexmark inkjet printer which went out of business in 2013. the brother printer was worse in every way: print quality, speed, software, wifi control panel etc, but the refillable ink tank means I've only needed about $20 worth of ink for 7 years worth of home printing (over 3000pages). I took care of the printer by always using best print quality which means more inks are used and print speed is significantly slower - these are easier on the printhead.

I'm actually surprised that people still buy cartridge type printers in 2021. people should stop buying it so manufacturers do not produce these kind of money-hogging printers anymore.

 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,842   +4,492
Kinda why we should all go paperless: I honestly get kind of pissed off when government bureaucracy demands that I print or photocopy documents anymore like for example each time you get a new job they need a huge paper trail: insert-current-year-joke-here
Yeah, lets put all legal work done on digital platforms that can easily be lost, wiped, encrypted, stolen, ece.

After the last few years of cyber attacks, hacks, ransomware, and sly attempts by many platforms to edit legal paperwork and ToS under people's noses, I am all for mandating paper copies of EVERYTHING. Paper is a lot harder to fully eliminate all trace of.