Printer vendor Epson has defended recent US-based lawsuits and allegations that it was misleading consumers by prematurely warning them to replace ink cartridges.
In July, Dutch consumer organisation Consumentenbond alleged Epson misled buyers, warning them to replace the cartridge via an integrated chip that prevents the cartridges being run dry. The company has since retracted all claims and issued an apology, Epson said.
Three lawsuits were also filed by the same law firm in several US jurisdictions and are 'based on allegations that Epson believes are completely without merit, the company said.
Epson printers are designed to retain a small safety reserve of ink to ensure good image quality and prevent damage to the print head that could be caused by drawing in air bubbles when there is no ink remaining in the cartridge, Epson claimed.
The integrated chip records the number of ink droplets that have been dispensed from the cartridge and also lets users swap cartridges between printers as needed to handle various print jobs, Epson said.
Michael Pleasants, director of marketing and communications at Epson Australia, said the company's customers get the full benefit 'of the ink we promote if they use our printers as we recommend'.
'Therefore we take these ill-founded accusations very seriously and deny them vigorously. Furthermore, we are concerned that some of the people making these accusations are doing a disservice to consumers by recommending that they override our ink replacement message, which will cause poor quality prints and damage the printers,' he said.
Jim Forrest, an imaging expert with US-based Lyra Research, said the lawsuits and allegations are frivolous. 'An Epson inkjet cartridge that runs completely dry could damage the hardware's printing mechanism.
'Yes, there may be some ink left over, but that is by design for the protection and longevity of the printer. And, since its cartridges are priced by page yields, not volume, consumers are in fact getting all that they paid for,' he said.