A proposed class action alleges Canon U.S.A. has falsely advertised its All-in-One printers in that the products, touted as able to print, copy, scan and, in some cases, fax documents, are unable to scan or fax when their ink cartridges are low or empty.
The 26-page lawsuit contends that Canon has intentionally failed to inform consumers that ink is needed to use all functions of the “3-in-1” or “4-in-1” printers. As a result, buyers must bear the “unexpected and unnecessary” burden of buying costly ink or otherwise lose the ability to scan or fax from their printers, the case claims.
“Canon knew, or should have known, that its representations and advertisements regarding the All-in-One Printers were false and misleading, and that they failed to disclose material information,” the complaint reads. “If Plaintiff knew that the All-in-One Printers suffered from the Design Issue, he would not have purchased an All-in-One Printer on the same terms, if at all.”
The suit charges that there is “no legitimate purpose” for Canon to sell All-in-One printers whose scanning or faxing functionality is directly tied to ink levels and that the company has only done so to increase profits on ink sales. According to the case, ink cartridges for Canon All-in-One printers retail for roughly $40 to $50.
“Ink is not needed for scanning or faxing functionality,” the case says. “Ink does not improve scanning or faxing performance. Tying the scan or fax capabilities of the All-In-One Printers to ink contained in the devices offers no benefit, and only serves to disadvantage and financially harm consumers.”
In addition to monetary damages, the plaintiff, a Queens, New York consumer, seeks an injunction ordering the company to stop the allegedly misleading advertising and marketing campaign for its All-in-One printers and engage in a “corrective campaign” to inform buyers of the truth.
Lawsuit says ink requirement left out of Canon All-in-One ads
Per the lawsuit, Canon’s All-in-One printers are marketed as being able to print, copy and scan, while certain models have been designed to also fax documents. Canon advertises the scanning and faxing capabilities as “main features” of the devices, the suit says, and effectively asserts that consumers should pay more for All-in-One printers as opposed to single-function products.
The case charges that although Canon prominently relays to consumers what its All-in-One printers can do, it has conspicuously failed to note that sufficient ink levels are required to scan and fax, two functions that traditionally do not require the use of ink:
Ink is not a necessary component to scan a document.
However, the All-in-One Printers are packaged and sold to purchasers in a manner which requires the devices to contain ink in order to scan documents. The All-in-One Printers do not function as scanners if the devices have low or empty ink cartridges.
In other words, if consumers wish to use either of two of the main functions of the device, Canon forces consumers to purchase ink cartridges whether or not they intend to use ink or want to print documents."
The lawsuit alleges Canon has known for years that its representations and ads concerning the All-in-One printers as multifunction devices were false and misleading and that it has failed to disclose material information to the public. Canon’s alleged misrepresentations of the All-in-One scanning and faxing functionalities “were and are likely to mislead a reasonable consumer” into purchasing one of the products, the suit claims.
Which Canon printers are at issue in the lawsuit?
According to the complaint, the following models of Canon All-in-One printers and any and all predecessor models are alleged to be unable to fax or scan when their ink cartridges are low or empty:
The design of the above-listed All-in-One printers, the case claims, requires consumers to maintain ink in their printers regardless of whether they intend to print.
Who’s included in the lawsuit?
The case looks to cover all consumers who bought a Canon All-in-One printer in the United States for personal or household use at any time within the applicable statute of limitations period.
The suit also proposes to cover Canon All-in-One printer buyers residing in New York.
I own a Canon All-in-One printer. How do I participate in the class action?
There’s typically nothing you need to do to join or be considered included in a class action lawsuit when it’s first filed. It’s only if and when a suit settles that “class members”—that is, the people ultimately covered by the lawsuit—will need to act. In the event that a class action settles, consumers covered by the lawsuit will receive notice with instructions on how to file claims for whatever compensation the court deems appropriate.
Note that class action lawsuits generally take some time to resolve, usually with a settlement, dismissal or through arbitration outside of court. For now, it’s best to stay informed. Sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter and be sure to check back to this page for any updates.