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Canon sued for disabling scanning features after printer ink runs out

Canon, manufacturer of cameras and printers, is being hit with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly disabling certain functions when its All-In-One printers run out of ink.

David Leacraft, along with more than 100 other Class members, wants to sue Canon USA for US$5 million (~RM20.8 million) by alleging deceptive marketing and unjust enrichment.

According to the lawsuit, Leacraft discovered that his Pixma MG6320 printer would not scan or fax documents whenever it ran out of ink, despite those functions not requiring the use of ink. The complaint goes on to say that Leacraft would have never bought the device if he knew he would have to maintain the ink to use the scanner.

Evidence in the lawsuit includes a quote from a support agent on Canon’s forum: “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.”

Further, Bleepingcomputer also found responses from Canon on the forum clarifying that all ink tanks must contain ink, including the colour tanks, for printers to even print in greyscale. The complaint further includes images of a Pixma MG2522 box that Canon advertises its All-in-One printers as including three distinct features – print, copying, and scanning.

The lawsuit also alleges that Canon is deceiving consumers into buying ink cartridges by introducing functional bottlenecks to increase its profits. Because printer inks expire after a few years, customers who rarely use their printer would still have to replenish the ink in order to keep using the scanning or faxing capabilities.

There are 21 printer models specifically named in the lawsuit, as well as all predecessor All-in-One models. The suit is still in its early phases as it was just filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York and has not been approved yet. The outcome of this class action lawsuit would certainly set an interesting precedent on how much of our devices we actually own.

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