Canon sued for disabling scanning, printing when printers run out of ink

Printer company Canon USA has been sued for disabling scanning and faxing features when its printers run out of ink.

This comes as the latest in a long history of user frustration regarding how pricey printer inks are, as well as the fact that these devices don’t allow for printing in black and white when color inks run out. While many companies have previously justified the discrepancy by claiming that color inks help enhance black printing.

Deceptive Marketing and Unjust Enrichment

But what sets the class action suit that has been filed against Canon by David Leacraft, is the fact that it pertains to how the firm’s printers stop their faxing and scanning functions when they’re low on ink. While this problem has persisted for years, the lawsuit alleges that the same is a form of “deceptive marketing” and “unjust enrichment” on Canon’s part.

Leacraft says that he was “surprised” to find that his “all-in-one” Canon Pixma MG6320 refused to fax or scan any documents when the printer ran out of ink. His filing says that had he been aware of the issue, he either wouldn’t have purchased the device at all, or even if he had, he wouldn’t have “paid as much for it.”

Canon sued for disabling scanning, printing when printers run out of ink
Image Credits: B&H

Different Functions but Common Problem

The reason behind the suit apparently happens to be the fact that the problem exists even though the model is advertised as having three distinct functions, that of a printer, scanner, and copier, without any prior warning that ink is to be present in the device for all the features.

The plaintiff is claiming that consumers have been deceived into buying something that is so designed to “artificially and unethically” bring in “functional bottlenecks,” in this case by tying everything to ink levels, despite their being “no practical link between them.” According to him, Canon’s advertising for the product are “false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public.”

Brining in Huge Profits

He further argues that Canon is actually doing so to enhance its profits, something he claims as being “unfair enrichment.” He adds that the design of the model has been kept such as to force consumers into maintaining the ink levels, regardless of whether they wish to print or not. The result, he says, is a major increase in ink sales, which eventually ended up being responsible for Canon raking in significantly high profits.