David Leacraft, a Canon printer user, filed the class action lawsuit last week after discovering that his Pixma MG2522 wouldn’t scan documents when the device registered low or nonexistent ink levels. Along with more than 100 other class members, Leacraft seeks $5 million in rewards on the basis of unjust enrichment, express warranty breach, and failure to disclose material information. The former essentially accuses Canon of using this defect to sell more ink cartridges, while the others claim Canon’s “all-in-one” advertising of its printers is “false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public,” according to the suit.
Canon doesn’t warn its customers that certain printers won’t scan or fax without ink (which isn’t exactly a surprise, as probably no one would buy the units otherwise). As the lawsuit more judiciously points out, this makes for a nasty surprise for customers who want to use their printers for things other than, well, printing. Beyond asking for monetary compensation, Leacraft’s legal representation demands that Canon be upfront in its advertising about the fact that a majority of its printers’ “all-in-one” features rely on certain ink levels being maintained. The suit even goes so far as to point out Canon’s long standing relationship with the public as a trustworthy and reliable technology brand, and suggests Canon abused this trust in failing to address the printers’ ink dependency in its advertising. The issue impacts at least 20 Canon printer models within the Pixma and Maxify lines.
It doesn’t take an advanced understanding of printer mechanics to know that ink isn’t involved in any scanning and faxing functionality (on the sender’s end, that is). Canon itself has admitted knowledge of the faulty logic on a support forum post identified in the lawsuit: a customer who owned a Pixma MX330 complained about being unable to scan without ink and asked why the scanning function was affected to begin with. A support agent responded, “The printer requires that both ink cartridges be installed in the printer in order to scan, even if they are low or out of ink. In addition, when an error condition is present on the printer (such as being out of ink), other functions of the unit will not be able to be performed until that issue is addressed.”
On a related note, many pre-installed and third-party smartphone apps allow you to scan or fax nowadays, so . . . do with that what you will.
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