Canon Sued for $5 Million for Disabling Scanner, Fax When Printers Run Out of Ink


Canon USA has found itself at the centre of a legal tussle following a decision it had taken regarding its printers’ functioning. A customer from New York has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company on the basis that some of Canon’s printers don’t carry out several functions unless they have adequate ink in the cartridges. The customer, identified as David Leacraft, has taken the legal route against the electronics giant’s decision to not allow owners of certain printers to use the scanner or faxing functions if they run out of ink. In the lawsuit, Leacraft has alleged that Canon is engaging in deceptive marketing and unjust enrichment.

In particular, Leacraft came across the issue while using the Pixma MG2522 printer from the brand. Upon using the device that was advertised as an “all-in-one” machine, Leacraft noted that the device was not functioning as a scanner or a fax machine when ink cartridges are empty or near being empty.

This, as per Leacraft’s complaint, is not acceptable as the amount of ink in the machine does not play a role in the machine’s scanning or faxing document capabilities.

As per a report by Bleeping Computer, the lawsuit involves more than 100 class members and seeks $5 million (roughly Rs. 37.6 crores) as compensation. The report also said that Canon told customers that the printer should contain ink for all colours even if you want to print in grayscale.

Revealing further details, the draft of complaint against Canon USA reads, “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.”

Calling Canon’s advertising claims false, the complaint says, “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.”

And it was this sort of misleading advertisement that caused Leacraft to purchase the device. “Plaintiff Leacraft would not have purchased the device or would not have paid as much for it had he known that he would have to maintain ink in the device in order to scan documents,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit alleges that Canon is only doing this to increase its profits by selling replacement ink cartridges. This was the basis for the complainant’s accusations of “unjust enrichment”.

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