Canon is suing for disabling the scanner when printers run out of ink

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Canon USA is sued because owners of certain printers are banned from using scanner or fax functions if they run out of ink.

Canon’s customer David Leacraft filed a class action suit on Tuesday for fraudulent advertising and unjust enrichment by the printer manufacturer.

Refuse to scan when out of ink

While using his Canon Pixma MG6320 printer, the plaintiff was surprised to find that the “all-in-one” device refused to scan or fax documents when the printer ran out of ink.

Since scans or faxes do not require ink, it is argued that the printer functions should work even if there is no ink in the device.

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

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

Canon customer service representative says they need ink to scan
Canon customer service representative says they need ink to scan
Source: Canon

The complaint also uses pictures of a Pixma MG2522 box to illustrate that Canon advertises its all-in-one printers with three different functions – printing, copying and scanning.

However, there is no warning to indicate that all of these functions require ink.

more comments [1. 2] found by BleepingComputer also shows Canon tells its customers that if they want to print in grayscale, all ink tanks must contain ink as this can damage the printer.

“The PIXMA MX710 must have all of the ink tanks installed and all of them must contain ink. If you try to print with no or no ink, you risk damaging the printer, ”a support agent wrote on the Canon forums.

Force users to buy ink cartridges

The class action lawsuit therefore states that consumers were deceived into buying a product that was designed to artificially and unethically create functional bottlenecks by being tied to ink levels, even if there is no practical link between them.

“In contrast to the” Single Function “printers sold, Canon calls these multifunctional devices” 3-in-1 “or” 4-in-1 “because they supposedly offer three or four functions,” says the class action lawsuit against Canon UNITED STATES.

“In fact, the all-in-one printers don’t scan or fax documents when the ink cartridges are low or empty (the ‘design problem’) and Canon’s advertising claims are false, misleading and are likely to mislead the public.”

Canon only does this, according to the lawsuit, to increase its profit by selling replacement ink cartridges, hence the allegation of unjust enrichment.

When you consider that printer inks typically expire after two or three years, you would practically be forced to keep buying new ink in order to use all of the features of the device, even if someone rarely or never uses this all-in-one -Devices prints.

“There is no reason or no technical basis for making the all-in-one printers with an ink level detection feature that will cause the scanner to stop working when the ink is low or empty. Canon developed the all-in-one printer in this way, encouraging consumers to keep ink in their devices regardless of whether they want to print, “the complaint said.

“The result is an increase in ink sales from which Canon makes significant profits.”

The lawsuit has been filed in New York District Court for the Eastern District for a minimum of $ 5,000,000 in arbitral awards, excluding interest, fees, and litigation costs.

The alleged violations alleged in the complaint are:

  • New York General Business Law Section 349
  • New York General Business Law Section 350
  • Breach of express warranties
  • Unjustified enrichment
  • Failure to disclose material information

If you purchased a Canon All-in-One printer and faced similar issues, you may be eligible for compensation in the future.

It’s important to note, however, that this class action lawsuit was filed this week and has not yet been approved by the court, so it’s too early in the process for now.

BleepingComputer contacted Canon USA with questions about the lawsuit, but received no response.


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