There is nothing more frustrating than when you need to print a document but one of the color ink cartridges in your printer is low and will not allow you to print even though you only want to print in black and white. Canon USA has apparently added to the frustration of their customers with their “all in one” printers, which will not scan or fax documents if any of the ink cartridges in the device are out of ink.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Canon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking over $5 million. The complaint alleges breach of express warranty; unjust enrichment; and violations of New York General Business Law. In general, the claims center around Canon’s advertising being false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public. Canon advertises their printers as being multifunctional purporting to provide three or four functions in one device such as: printing; scanning; and faxing. These devices, however, do not scan or fax documents when ink cartridges are low or empty. Canon’s customers are essentially forced to purchase ink for their devices even if the function they are seeking to use does not utilize ink.
Cannon claims that these protections are put in place so that the devices are not damaged if printing is attempted while there is no ink. According to Cannon, the printhead could be damaged if there is no ink present. However, this does not address how scanning and/or faxing a document would cause damage to a device while ink is low or depleted.
This is the first time a printer manufacturer has been taken to court on claims such as these, however, Canon is certainly not the only company to require new ink cartridges in their devices in order to fax or scan documents.