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Canon is being sued because it disabled features when printers ran out of ink

The company has been disabling scanning and faxing when its printers were out of ink.

canon printer logo
Image: Unsplash

Camera and printer company, Canon, has found itself to be the target of a recent lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages. Apparently, the company is accused of disabling the scanning and faxing capabilities on one of its multi-function printers if it ran out of ink.

According to a new report from Bleeping Computer, a customer of Canon filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Canon USA over the alleged practice. David Leacraft filed the lawsuit after discovering that his Pixma MG2522 all-in-one printer didn’t work the way he thought it should.

Leacraft says that if his printer is out of ink, then it shuts down all operations, including scanning and faxing. Of course, you don’t need ink to scan or send a fax. Leacraft’s primary issue with Canon is that these functions should work, regardless of whether or not the printer is loaded with ink.

The lawsuit claims that Canon intentionally cuts off these services to sell more ink

canon scanner ink lawsuit
Image: Canon

The lawsuit filed earlier this week contains more than 100 class members seeking at least $5 million in awards. One of the main allegations in the lawsuit includes unjust enrichment. Leacraft and other class members claim that Canon disables these functions when the device is out of ink as a way to maximize profits by selling more ink.

The lawsuit contains evidence that shows how printers are sold cheap with the expectation that the company will make up the difference by selling ink:

“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.”

The company has only given a general response to the claims so far, in the form of a support email offered back in 2016: “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.”

The complaint says that this issue currently affects more than 20 different printer models offered by Canon. The suit was filed on Tuesday and is currently awaiting approval from the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

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