A proposed class action alleges HP has intentionally failed to disclose to consumers that its OfficeJet printers use substantial amounts of color ink when printing black and white images and text and that the devices will stop working should their color ink be depleted.
Filed April 10 in California’s Northern District, the 23-page case argues that reasonable consumers “do not know, and have no reason to know,” that HP’s printers were purposely designed to use color ink even when printing strictly black and white images or text, which the defendant refers to as “underprinting.” Further, due to HP’s apparent non-disclosures, consumers are similarly unaware that the printers will be inoperable once their color ink has run dry, the suit claims.
“Consumers are unaware of these material facts not only because Defendant fails to disclose them at the point of sale, but they defy common sense,” the complaint asserts. “Consumers expect a printer to be able to print images and text in black and white when the printer still has sufficient black ink, regardless of the color ink level.”
As a result of HP’s apparent non-disclosure of material facts concerning its printers, consumers are forced to spend more money on ink than they would otherwise reasonably be expected to, the case continues. Further, the suit adds, HP printer owners are forced to buy multiple color ink or toner cartridges, which are typically more expensive than black ink, in order to continue using the devices regardless of whether they need to print in color.
Per the suit, consumers have no reasonable way of knowing color ink depletion is occurring while printing in black and white given no colors appear on the page. Those who have removed their printer’s color ink cartridge and attempted to print in black and white find the device does not work, the case goes on.
According to the complaint, the specific model HP printers that allegedly over-rely on color ink include, but are not limited to:
“HP OfficeJet 6100, 6600, 6700, 8702, 7110 Wide Format, 7510 Wide Format, 7610 Wide Format, 7612 Wide Format, OfficeJet Pro 7720 Wide Format, 7730 Wide Format, 7740 Wide Format, 8100, 8210, 8216, 8218, 8600, 8600 Plus, 8610, 8615, 8620, 8625, 8630, 8640, 8660, 8710, 8715, 8717, 8718, 8719, 8720, 8725, 8728, 8730, 8732M, 8740, 8745, OfficeJet Pro 9010, 9012, 9013, 9014, 9015, 9016, 9018, 9019/Premier, 9020, 9022, 9023, 9025, 9026, 9028, and OfficeJet 9012 AiO printers.”
Had the plaintiff and other proposed class members known HP designed its printers to prematurely stop working when their color ink runs dry, or that the printers would consume color ink even while printing in black and white, they would not have bought the devices or would have paid significantly less, the lawsuit says.
The suit looks to cover a nationwide class and California-only subclass of consumers who bought any of the HP printer models listed above for personal, family or household use.
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