Epson clears air over ink action

The controversy arose in July when a Dutch consumer organisation accused Epson of misleading consumers by warning them to replace ink cartridges prematurely.

The US lawsuit will attempt to prove that Epson is using technology to block inkjet cartridges even though a substantial amount of ink still remains in the cartridge, so that consumers are paying for ink they can’t actually use.

In its defence, Epson has sought advice from two research companies Lyra Research and CAP Ventures. Epson is seeking to prove its assertion that running an ink cartridge completely dry could damage the hardware’s printing mechanism.

Epson Australia is taking the same stance. It says that its cartridges are priced on the usable volume of ink, not on the total volume of ink. The small reserve of ink ensures consistent image quality and prevents damage to the permanent print head that could be caused by drawing in air bubbles when there is no ink remaining in the cartridge.

Mike Pleasants, Epson Australia director of marketing, says that while he is not willing to comment on competing technologies, leaving a small safety reserve of ink that is not charged for is “commonplace”. He is urging customers to read the page yield statement that accompanies the machines.

He also advises customers to not attempt to override the ink replacement message, as it will result in poor quality prints and damage to the printers, and denies speculation that the technology is not being used to stamp out competition posed by refill companies and cartridge clone-makers.

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