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Canon sued over AiO printers that won't scan when ink runs out

by Mark Tyson on 18 October 2021, 11:11

Tags: Canon (TYO:7751)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaerbl

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A Canon USA customer is seeking US$5 million in awards, in a class action suit filed last week in New York. The legal complaint alleges at least six violations of New York business and other trade laws in the US. In brief, David Leacraft, the customer, bought a Pixma MG2522 All-in-One (also called an AiO or MFP) printer from Canon but was annoyed that he had to maintain a certain level of ink in the machine, not just for printing but for scanning and/or faxing documents too.

You can read the full class action complaint document here, via Bleeping Computer. Please note that the class action is yet to be approved by the court, but if it is, you could be eligible for receiving compensation in the future (US resident Canon MFP users).

The legal document as filed describes the way Canon MFPs refuse to scan or fax when ink is low as a 'design issue'. Clearly, no ink is needed for scanning or sending a fax, as per the available discrete office machines. However, it is claimed that Canon doesn't make consumers aware of this 'design issue' in its promotional materials. It is argued that "As a result, consumers are forced to incur unexpected and unnecessary burden and expense," to use these devices as advertised.

Moreover, the legal document says that Canon knowingly uses false or misleading representations and advertisements to sell its 'print, copy, scan, fax' MFPs. Perhaps the problem is encapsulated by the plaintiff saying that is he had known about the 'design issue' limitations, he wouldn't have paid so much for the Canon Pixma, or would have chosen another brand.

The summary of alleged violations by Canon is as follows:

  • The New York General Business Law § 349
  • The New York General Business Law § 350
  • Breach of express warranties
  • Unjust enrichment
  • Failure to disclose material information

Sadly, we all know what the game is here, with many having had experience of buying a printer and finding that the ink is both astronomically priced and sold in tiny packages. Furthermore, printer makers have designed-in various technological barriers to refilling these cartridges with similar/identical inks that are otherwise cheap to buy (commonly using a chip embedded on the cartridge).

Pixma MFP users have commented on this problem previously, above is an official Canon admin reply.

I have an older Canon Pixma MFP at home, which I made sure it was easy to buy clone cartridges for, cheap at multiple outlets, before buying it. It might have been made before the scan-block technology became a thing, or the scan-block tech might not be worldwide.

It will be interesting to see any progress in this class action suit. However, it is still at an early stage, and we don't have any official statements from Canon USA about this new class action suit as yet.



HEXUS Forums :: 43 Comments

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I hope more lawsuits like this happen, the printing sector is a wild west for whether printers do everything they should at the times they need to as they are advertised.
Tabbykatze
I hope more lawsuits like this happen, the printing sector is a wild west for whether printers do everything they should at the times they need to as they are advertised.

I'd like to see lawsuits on the environmental damage of forcing people to keep buying new kit that is no better than what it replaces. Printers and scanners have not changed in capabilities for over 10 years, yet the price of ink and parts keeps creeping up so it gets to the point that you need to spend more on a single part than it costs to buy an entire new MFP.
Case in point - The print head on my Officejet 8600 series got bunged up irreversibly. Probably due to me using “cheapo” ink. Why? A full set of HP ink tanks costs over £100! They don't even make the print heads any more and a second hand one is £90-£130!
I paid £170 for the damn thing new.
This practice is unbelievably, deliberately wasteful and its only purpose is is to immorally boost profits. The entire business model needs to change from loss leader+rip off Ink to “appropriately priced printer and reasonably priced ink”

The solution is to regulate the industry into submission.
Disgusting. I did a bit of reading on printers a while ago, and Canon are currently on my short list as I think you can fill up the colours individually on some models, and not have to insert a disposable plastic cartridge.

Arguably, if you never intended to use the print function, you could fill this with any liquid (although cheap after-market ink probably makes sense).
Dashers
Disgusting. I did a bit of reading on printers a while ago, and Canon are currently on my short list as I think you can fill up the colours individually on some models, and not have to insert a disposable plastic cartridge.

Arguably, if you never intended to use the print function, you could fill this with any liquid (although cheap after-market ink probably makes sense).
All the bigger manufacturers (at least) do some variation of that. My most recent AiO (Epson) has what is effectively a built-in CIS (continuous ink system). I don't buy cartridges at all. Instead, I buy bottles of ink and top up the tanks, which are connected to the heads via tubing.

CIS solutions have been around due to cost/ml of ink, for a couple of decades, at least, especially on ‘photo’ printers that drink ink, but until relatively recently, were 3rd-party devices and warranty-risking. Major manufacturers have effectively jumpe on the bandwagon.

As for the cost of inks being high, that's self-evidently true but …. again, for a couple of decades, you've been able to buy printers that are far cheaper to run in ink cost/ml but you'll pay a lot more for the printer. All you needed to do was look at the high pagecount business machines. Ink cartridges were much larger and cost per ml comparatively (and that word is important) cheap.

It boils down to a choice - expensive printer, cheaper ink, or cheaper machine, very expensive ink. The optimum choice depends on how much per month, or per year, you print.

The practice that does wuind me up, unless it's very clearly stated in marketing/advertising, is “starter” cartridges. That's borderline deceitful, if not very clearly explained.
badass
Tabbykatze
I hope more lawsuits like this happen, the printing sector is a wild west for whether printers do everything they should at the times they need to as they are advertised.

I'd like to see lawsuits on the environmental damage of forcing people to keep buying new kit that is no better than what it replaces. Printers and scanners have not changed in capabilities for over 10 years, yet the price of ink and parts keeps creeping up so it gets to the point that you need to spend more on a single part than it costs to buy an entire new MFP.
Case in point - The print head on my Officejet 8600 series got bunged up irreversibly. Probably due to me using “cheapo” ink. Why? A full set of HP ink tanks costs over £100! They don't even make the print heads any more and a second hand one is £90-£130!
I paid £170 for the damn thing new.
This practice is unbelievably, deliberately wasteful and its only purpose is is to immorally boost profits. The entire business model needs to change from loss leader+rip off Ink to “appropriately priced printer and reasonably priced ink”

The solution is to regulate the industry into submission.

Its crazy isn't it. I deliberately went for a cheap black and white laser this time as I got fed up always finding my printer gummed up after not using it for a few months. At least lasers seem to be more resistant to this sort of BS (but still not perfect).

I sometimes feel the same at the mobile phone industry but at least the phones are still improving year on year. With phones I'd like to purchase a few years OS support and new battery sometimes!