Canon sued for turning off scanner when printers run out of ink

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Canon USA is being sued for not allowing owners of certain printers to use the scanner in facsimile functions if they are low on ink.

David Leacraft, a Canon customer, filed a class action suit on Tuesday alleging misleading marketing and unwarranted enrichment by the printer manufacturer.

Refusal to scan when ink runs out

Using his Canon Pixma MG6320 printer, the complainant was surprised to find that the “all-in-one” machine would refuse to scan or fax documents if the printer ran out of ink.

Since ink is not required for scanning or faxing, the argument is that printer functionality should continue to function even if there is no ink in the device.

“Plaintiff Leacraft would not have purchased the device or paid as much if he had known that he would have to keep ink in the device to scan documents,” the complaint reads for the class action.

Since at least 2016, other customers have contacted Canon regarding this specific issue. [1, 2] and have been advised by support agents that ink cartridges must be installed and contain ink to use printer features, as shown in the agent’s response below.

Canon customer service agent tells you you need ink for scanning
Canon customer service agent tells you you need ink for scanning
Source: Canon

The complaint further illustrates with images of a Pixma MG2522 box that Canon advertises its all-in-one printers as having three distinct features – printing, copying and scanning.

However, there is no warning that ink is required for all of these features.

Other messages [1. 2] found by BleepingComputer also shows Canon telling customers that all ink tanks must contain ink if they want to print in grayscale, as this could damage 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 could damage the printer,” said one. support agent on the Canon forums.

Force users to buy ink cartridges

As such, the class action lawsuit says consumers were tricked into purchasing a product designed to artificially and unethically introduce functional bottlenecks by tying them to even ink levels. there is no practical connection between them.

“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 that they are supposed to provide three or four functions,” it reads. in the class action. complaint against Canon USA.

“The truth is that all-in-one printers don’t scan or fax documents when 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. . “

According to the lawsuit, Canon is only doing this to increase its profits by selling replacement ink cartridges, hence the charges of unjust enrichment.

Since printer inks usually expire after two or three years, even if someone rarely or never prints on these all-in-one machines, they would practically have to keep buying new ink just to use all of them. device functions.

“There is no reason or technical basis to make all-in-one printers with an ink level detection feature that prevents the scanner from working when ink is low or empty. Canon designed all-in-one printers this way. to require consumers to keep ink in their devices, whether or not they intend to print, ”the complaint continues.

“The result is increased ink sales from which Canon is making significant profits.”

The lawsuit has been filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York and seeks at least $ 5,000,000 in prize money, excluding interest, fees and litigation costs.

The alleged violations alleged in the complaint are:

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

If you purchased an all-in-one printer from Canon and are experiencing similar issues, you may be eligible for compensation in the future.

However, it is important to note that this class action lawsuit was filed this week and is not yet approved by the court, so it is too early in the process at this time.

BleepingComputer has contacted Canon USA with questions regarding this lawsuit but has not received a response.

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