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Canon class action analysed

March 10, 2016

Canon's PIXMA MX892

Canon’s PIXMA MX892

An article claims that Canon’s “poor customer loyalty” and a recent class action are signs of greater dissatisfaction with printers.

The article, on Seeking Alpha, refers to the class action begun in 2014 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, accusing Canon of selling certain PIXMA inkjet AIOs with a printhead defect. This is said to then stop the printer working, with two complaints stating that “after limited use [or] well before the end of their useful lives”, some of the machines display a “wrong or incorrect printhead error message”, U052, and refuse to print, scan, copy or fax after.

Some of the 35 printers involved included the PIXMA MX892. MP600, MX860 and MX700, which use a permanent thermal printhead instead of an integrated inkjet cartridge and replaceable printhead, with the OEM accused at the time of knowing about the defect “because of the repairs it was asked to”, and yet it did not recall the machines, nor pay for “labour or diagnostic expenses”. The Seeking Alpha article notes that the class action was resolved in September 2015 for $930,000 (€848,307), with Canon settling.

The settlement in the USA, however, stipulated that customers – in order to get a cash payment of $50 (€45) or a voucher worth $75 (€68) – would need to “show proof that he/she incurred an out-of-pocket expense” for the specific issue. The author of the article only became aware of the issue when his own MX892 stopped working, and believes that the fallout of the case will “impact HP’s printer market”.

He notes that the plaintiffs stated “that if they and the other class members had known about this defect, they would not have bought the Canon printers”, with some respondents having issues with Canon machines since 2004, and he added that “what is telling is that every respondent who spoke about what they planned to do next was to buy a replacement printer that was NOT a Canon”.

Additionally, barely any customers have taken advantage of the OEM’s loyalty programme, and some joined its online community “with the express purpose of telling readers NOT to purchase a Canon printer”, and the author attempted to contact Canon, but received no responses from Japan or the USA. His belief is that the issues will “impact sales not only for Canon but competitors”, referring to IDC’s report on the third quarter of the last year.

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