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Epson under investigation in France

January 2, 2018

(Copyright: La Croix)

The OEM will be investigated by French prosecutors after it was implicated in a lawsuit filed by environmental association Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP).

In a recent press release, HOP revealed that it was “pleased that the Public Prosecutor has decided to open the investigation following the complaint we filed on 18 September. We will closely follow the investigations of the DGCCRF, the “consumer police”.”

Epson was named, along with HP, Canon and Brother in a criminal complaint filed by HOP with the Prosecutor of the Republic of Nanterre, the “first French legal action on the basis of the planned crime of obsolescence.”

Their complaint identified methods the printer manufacturers used to “deliberately shorten the life of printers and cartridges”, including: “elements of the printers, such as the ink absorber pad, are falsely indicated at end of life” and “the blocking of prints on the pretext that the ink cartridges would be empty while there is still ink.”

If proven, these practices would be viewed as planned obsolescence, which is illegal under the 2015 Energy Transition Law.

Thus far, only Epson is being investigated as a result of HOP’s complaint, and according to The Times, Epson’s executives “face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of €300,000 if found guilty.” In addition, the OEM could be fined 5 percent of its worldwide annual revenue.

“This is very good news. For the first time in France and, as far as we know, in the world, legal authorities have taken up a case of planned obsolescence,” Emile Meunier, a lawyer for Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée, said.

HOP’s founder, Laetitia Vasseur, revealed that the association “had broad backing from consumers, many of whom were angry at the cost of replacing cartridges and pads on their printers.”



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