3-in-1 Printer Stops Scanning When Ink Tank Empty

John Lister's picture

Canon is being sued for allegedly blocking multifunction printers from scanning or faxing because the printer ink is empty. The customer bringing the case has asked for class action status.

David Leacraft bought an "all-in-one" Pixma device with printing, document scanning and faxing features. When his ink ran out, he found the other features no longer worked.

According to the lawsuit, multiple posts and replies on an official Canon support site suggest this is by design. One reply from a Canon "Product Expert" read:

"The Pixma MG6320 must have all ink tanks installed in the printer and they must all contain ink in order to use the functions of the printer. Replacing the empty ink tank with a new ink tank will resolve this issue. There is no workaround for this." (Source: documentcloud.org)

No Mention Of Policy

The lawsuit, spotted by Bleeping Computer, also cites several pieces of Canon promotional material for the camera that highlight the various features as being distinct but make no mention of the scanning/copying or fax (sending) as requiring ink. He says there's "no reason or technical basis" why this is necessary. (Source: bleepingcomputer.com)

Leacraft says that had he known about this limitation he either wouldn't have bought the device, or would only have done so at a lower price. He argues that it's a perfectly legitimate response of a customer who runs out of ink to switch to using the device solely for scanning and copying, then buy replacement ink as and when they need to print documents.

Class Action Status Sought

The lawsuit accuses Canon of breaching various New York business laws, most notably by not disclosing information that would affect purchase decisions and by unfairly increasing printer ink sales to boost its profits.

The filing asks for class action status to cover anyone in the US who has bought a Canon All-in-One Printer within the statute of limitations. It says such status is necessary because thousands of people are affected and it would be impractical to manually link together individual claims.

If granted, the status would mean a single case would cover all affected people and, if successful, any damages could be shared among them.

Canon had yet to comment publicly at the time of writing.

What's Your Opinion?

Does the case sound valid to you? Have you got a multifunction printer? Do you know if all functions are disabled if there's no ink, and would you be surprised if this was the case?

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chuckthom_99's picture

Another annoyance similar to what you're getting with your Canon printer/scanner is with my Xerox WorkCentre 6027. While it is a 4 color printer (CYMK) if any of the 4 colors run out you can't print. I can set the printer to only B&W printings, but being out of one of the other colors STOPS any printing. You'd think that there could be provision to allow black only printing.

DLStoehner's picture

I have an HP that stopped scanning when Windows 10 uninstalled the Flash Player. Still trying all of the fixes I can find trying to get it to scan again.

glen's picture

For years, HP printers required that a color cartridge be installed even if you only choose to print in black. This too, is a PITA!!

jimain's picture

Thanks for the suggestions before I tear the rest of my hair out!

RMG's picture

I have an Epson Workforce Multi-function machine - print, scan, fax, copy. Model WF2760

I have another HP Color Laser which I use for my colored printing needs. I don't use the Epson for printing.

I use the Epson only for scanning / faxing. I maybe printed 2-3 pages in all since I bought it, one of which to make sure that the print function was working. I printed the page where you check the line colors and the text and so on.

Then the yellow ink dried up / ran out.

The printer will turn on with the four icons, but will not advance to the next screen. I only want to scan, I don't want to print. Won't let me do it. Contacted Epson. They sent me a BS email about how to install the driver and how to check the cables were properly connected and other such nonsense. I tried to explain my issue multiple times. I think they chose not to understand rather than acknowledge the issue - because then they would have to do something about it.

Who can help me file a class action lawsuit against them as well ?

lgitschlag_3159's picture

HP was sued recently over their requirements on ink and they lost.

JeffRL's picture

I had too many problems with too many Canon products across multiple categories and their utterly-uninterested "support" so I simply stopped buying anything they make. I'm sure some people have had nothing but delightfully wonderful experiences with Canon, but I've never regretted my decision to never buy any of their stuff again.

matt_2058's picture

I just threw away a Brother MFC printer for a similar reason. For some reason, it would not recognize a new color ink cartridge. Never could get past the ink error on the screen. It wouldn't print in Black only. Also, the scanner would not work.

I would have kept it around just for the scanning function had it worked.