back to article Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims

Canon USA has been accused of forcing customers to buy ink cartridges when they only want to scan and fax documents using the manufacturer's so-called All-In-One multi-function printers. David Leacraft bought a Canon PIXMA MG2522 All-in-One Printer from Walmart in March, and was appalled when his device was incapable of …

  1. anonymousI

    No print? No buy.

    We had the same issue with Canon printers a few years ago. The solution was that we haven't bought anything from Canon since then.

    1. macjules

      Re: No print? No buy.

      Not just that but Canon "inks" tend to be small, cost one hell of a lot and that you need 6 separate ink cartridges. Also the printers have a nasty habit of going into "petulant" mode without warning and then demanding that you go over to the printer and confirm that you are indeed printing to A4 paper, or whatever.

      Mine got left in a London street with the warning "works fine, will bankrupt you and may cause irrational anger".

      1. boblongii

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Couple of things: 6 cartridges is generally a good thing, and that's not *irrational* anger.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Also, my Canon printer tends to notify 'low ink' very soon after a new cartridge is put in, and 'no ink' even when there very obviously still is ink. In fact, I've printed high-quality colour photos even when the printer was complaining that 2 out of 3 colour cartridges had no ink. I guess the one positive is that the printer doesn't refuse to print when it 'thinks' there isn't any ink.

        To be fair, it works fine with 3rd-party cartridges, still a tad expensive but not eye-wateringly so.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No print? No buy.

        For the sake of correctness, Canon - just like the other ones - makes models using from two cartridges only to models with twelve. And also models with refillable tanks. When buying a printer you should take that into account too - because that has an impact on costs. If you don't need to print photos a four-inks models is enough. For high-end photo printing six inks may not be enough.

        And many inkjet printers will stop printing if one of the cartridges is empty, even if you asked to print black only and there's plenty of black. Yet, why denying scanning??

        That's one reason I have separate devices. I'm lucky to have enough room for a flatbed scanner and a printer. Actually, two printers because I use a laser printer for document printing, and a dedicated inkjet for photo printing (it's expensive, but you don't do it to save). Without the latter need, I would no longer use an inkjet.

        People with less space available need obviously an AiO device - and makers can't take advantage of it to milk users - they milk enough with inks prices, but that's the Gillette business model.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: No print? No buy.

          "Yet, why denying scanning??"

          Given my experience with printers, it's probably the startup routine aborts when there's no ink, leaving the machine blinking warning lights and doing nothing else.

          It is certainly arguable that ink status should have no effect on scanning, but it's worth noting that it is a multifunction printer, not a multifunction scanner, so if it fails to fully initialise because there's a problem with the printing part then that is understandable if rather stupid.

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: No print? No buy.

            It's worth noting that it is a multifunction printer and when it's out of consumables for one function, there's no sane reason the other functions shouldn't work. That's the whole point.

          2. Shady

            Re: No print? No buy.

            That reduces device to a zero function doorstop

            1. RockBurner

              Re: No print? No buy.

              Stopping doors is not a useful function?

              (although this is a very expensive way to realise that functionality)

            2. JDPower666

              Re: No print? No buy.

              I tried that - cos it was out of ink it refused to work as a door stop.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It is certainly arguable that ink status should have no effect on scanning

            no, it is not arguable.

          4. rcxb1

            Re: No print? No buy.

            <blockquote>but it's worth noting that it is a multifunction printer, not a multifunction scanner</blockquote>

            In that case I'm going to start a lawsuit over the fact that there's no place to insert a cannon ball. it can't even fly like a Cessna let alone a JET, and it certainly draws more than 10mA:

            I'd forgive them if there was some unexpected mechanical failure in the printer mechanism that caused boot-up of the device to fail and so inability to fax & scan, but low-ink is an extremely common scenario they can't very well claim they hadn't considered.

        2. Shady

          Re: No print? No buy.

          Twelve? Twelve??

          What next! Mono printers with 255 cartridges - one for each shade of grey??

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: No print? No buy.

            Nah, you'd only really need 50.

            :: shows self the door ::

          2. Anonymous Coward

            "one for each shade of grey??"

            You're joking, but actually, do exist kits to transform some photo printer in B/W only with each color replaced with a shade of gray... i.e.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No print? No buy.

            Perhaps they are like disk drives in a RAID...... If one fails another takes over?

      4. RichardBarrell

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Slightly mislabelled: the anger caused is entirely rational.

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: No print? No buy.

      Personally, I'm confused as to why anyone is still using the fax functionality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No print? No buy.

        I had to connect my fax again when I started doing more business with the US. "Yes sir, please fax us the filled in form. But only during US East Coast office hours and directly after you have called me because I need to walk to the fax machine to collect it". See also: paper checks to transfer large amounts of money.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: No print? No buy.

          How very backwards. There's nothing (indeed there is a lot less) that a fax machine gives you than an emailed PDF (or just a simple image file) doesn't. If they're that set on having a hard copy, they can just print one out. If they want more security (and, as an aside, a fax machine provides near zero security), use an encrypted email service or just password the PDF. Fax needs to die.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Fax

            You should know better. A PDF "password" is about as "secure" as cello tape over a flap as a "seal". And email can be intercepted, especially since most people use IMAP nowadays and the message is continuously stored on the server even after reading. If [email] systems were so secure, systems wouldn't be [trying] to move to 2FA and ransomware simply wouldn't be a thing (because there would be nothing to ransom).

            Fax is far, far more secure: you dial direct and, unless you have a government warrant issued to listen in on your transmissions, your recipient will be the only person on that line. And you get a confirmation that they received the transmission (or, did not).

            In the U.S. health care system, fax is the only frequently accepted form of transmitting written information and this may have to do with meeting HIPAA rules of confidentiality.

            Anyone who thinks their email is more secure than a standard, direct-dial fax, under normal circumstances, is simply a technologist fool. I'll be downvoted, but prove me (plus the systems, and the industries that use fax) wrong, you can't. For the average user, "Use encrypted email" has about the same level of expectation as "Solve our Lagrange point analysis for our satellite, will you?"

            1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: Fax

              Nope, nope, and nope again. Just because you're supposed to have some kind of warrant, doesn't mean you need one: anyone can attach crocodile clips to a phone line if they have an interest in it. The PDF 1.7 standard uses 256-bit AES for encryption, so good luck with that (of course, assuming that the password has been sensibly chosen). Secure, seamlessly e2e encrypted email is easily achievable (other providers are available), and I use it every day; considering how much other complex IT they use, healthcare providers could very easily implement it too. It sounds like dinosaur standards are the only thing preventing that.

              1. Someone Else Silver badge

                Re: Fax

                And then there's that sensitive fax sitting for an indeterminate period on the fax machine just waiting (in amongst an indeterminate number of other sensitive faxes) for the right person to saunter by to pick it up. No security problems there, no siree!

                1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                  Re: Fax

                  I understand there's an ITU standard (if you've got it at both ends) that allows the sender to set a password on a fax. The receiving machine evidently holds the fax in memory until an authorised person inputs the password, then it is printed or whatever. I hope that if the receiver doesn't do passwords then the fax isn't sent, but I didn't get that deep into it.

                  Or I think someone mentioned a method that I've used with sensitive information by fax - phone the authorised recipient and agree that in, say, five minutes from now, or in sixty seconds, I will be sending the fax and they should be at their machine to watch it come out.

              2. Snake Silver badge

                RE: nope = ridiculous

                Are you actually listening to yourself? Your arguments are ridiculous.

                "Just because you're supposed to have some kind of warrant, doesn't mean you need one: anyone can attach crocodile clips to a phone line if they have an interest in it.

                And that requires PHYSICAL ACCESS to the telephone network. How secure is that email server? Oh yeah, it can be hacked from anywhere around the world by a determined hacker. Or login credentials simply social-engineered right out from under the admin's nose. Or how about the possible dozens of route points in the TRACERT that can be hacked?

                The PDF 1.7 standard uses 256-bit AES for encryption, so good luck with that (of course, assuming that the password has been sensibly chosen). Secure, seamlessly e2e encrypted email is easily achievable (other providers are available)

                ...while you demand every single possible recipient of that PDF'ed data to joint into YOUR encryption choices, share passwords and/or keys or certificates. Plus hop on to either an Adobe Acrobat DC subscription, an online PDF subscription (which would violate the entire point of the security protocols), or a FOSS one - either way, EVERY worker who is responsible for actually reading the materials now needs to be trained in both the encrypt & decrypt sides of the software. And every user, and / or every single system, that may have the data displayed will also have the keys / certificates / passwords.

                Yet somehow you think that, in a heathcare situation for example, that having thousands upon thousands of users who need to store, recall or use the system passwords, plus the thousands of systems that themselves need the certificates / passwords, is "secure". A laboratory will have hundreds of client doctors, sending hundreds of thousands of results, and every doctor office will therefore need the shared credentials. Or do you actually suggest that, for every data email sent, that new credentials be accommodated as well??

                You send a fax. It gets transmitted to ONE recipient via one direct phone call to a known destination. If the fax needs to be can put the simple fax machine into a secured location, like a private office. The fax can't be read or copied until you get physical access to that printout.


                You are trying to support your high technology idea that email is better, more secure, than what is equivalent to a phone call. It's the silliest thing I've heard in a while. HIPAA has strict demands on email and apparently there are special compliant providers just to hit the regulatory requirements, all of which will be subscription.


                Securing email is NOT easy, you of all people should know that. Yes, it certainly can be done but it is not intrinsic to the format. Fax has a much higher intrinsic level of privacy because you know the destination, no intermediaries are present (discounting the telco's switches and lines, of course).

                1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

                  Re: RE: nope = ridiculous

                  I still say nope. The NHS already has a secure system with shared credentials in the form of SystmOne. It's based on 2FA with a password and a smart card. There are hundreds of thousands of people that successfully use that system every minute of every day, if not millions. If they can do it, so can others. Telco's switches and lines are as vulnerable as any other part of the internet's infrastructure (which, let's face it, is all they are now). Your arguments are therefore invalid.

                  As an aside, why me "of all people"...?

                2. heyrick Silver badge

                  Re: RE: nope = ridiculous

                  "The fax can't be read or copied until you get physical access to that printout."

                  Assuming there's an actual printout, and that it doesn't just dump the TIFF into an email or file that can be accessed from an embedded server.

                3. Allan George Dyer

                  Re: RE: nope = ridiculous

                  @Snake - "You send a fax. It gets transmitted to ONE recipient via one direct phone call to a known destination. If the fax needs to be can put the simple fax machine into a secured location, like a private office. The fax can't be read or copied until you get physical access to that printout."

                  The recipient has NO assurance who sent the fax. Knowing who the sender is can be important. As a healthcare example, surgeon cuts off wrong leg, realises mistake, sends a modified copy of the instruction, destroys the original and blames the sender.

                  Plus, all the attacks like eavesdropping the call or changing the destination that require physical access... why is physical access so difficult? It's a km-long network of cables with many junction boxes lacking armed guards.

                  @Snake - "(discounting the telco's switches and lines, of course)" So you're willing to blindly trust all the thousands of telco employees that you haven't vetted?

                4. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: RE: nope = ridiculous

                  You're also casually trying to ignore the fact that many have opted for fax-to-email facilities on account of it being easier to use and not demanding a physical line and a physical device - a boon during the days of work-from-home-to-stay-alive.

                  In other words, your fax probably ends up either sent or received via email anyway, or even on both ends.

                  In addition, especially when sending an encrypted file, YOU can be in control. You don't assume the transmission path to be secure, be it the physical bit of paper inserted in the source and then forgotten, the potentially tapped phone line, the bit of paper left on the device or spilling out of the buffer after someone puts in new paper because it ran out.

                  You might as well cut out the middle man and remain in control yourself.

            2. hammarbtyp

              Re: Fax

              Fax is far, far more secure: you dial direct and, unless you have a government warrant issued to listen in on your transmissions, your recipient will be the only person on that line. And you get a confirmation that they received the transmission (or, did not)

              If it is anything like the Fax in our office, any received faxes will sit in the in tray for a couple of weeks until someone notices and they are sent to the correct recipient (or more likely the circular filing cabinet).

              I really would not want to send anything sensitive or personal by fax.

              1. GuildenNL

                Re: Fax

                I hate HATE HATE HATE fax, but to be fair, I haven’t seen a printed fax in well over 20 years. Businesses use fax apps, the images sit on servers and access is limited by permissions.

                PSTN telephony is many times more secure than email. FoIP less so, but still more than email.

                Working in IT Healthcare, the challenge is primarily B2C. There may be some B2B challenges I’m not aware of, but even small medical practices all seem to be connected to a health hub. B2C is improving, but Fax will still be with us until at least 2026. Arrrgh! I’m old enough to remember sending my first fax using an acoustic coupler to an old fashioned phone. If memory serves me right, this was sometime around 1978.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Fax

                  PSTN telephony is many times more secure than email

                  I'm ex telco. Let's just say that I disagree.

                  I can see fax remain in use for many more years just as telex is still around, but let that not deceive you in thinking that the carriers behind it have not changed - even for simple economic reasons they had to be upgraded.

                  1. G7mzh

                    Re: Fax

                    Does Telex still exist? I thought it had all died out years ago (apart from RTTY).

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Fax

                      It should have died because of the Y2K problem, but instead it got upgraded again.

                      Simple reason: fairly vast profit vs cost.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Fax


                        Disclaimer - went for a job interview there a few years, didn't take it for various reasons, but was as surprised as you to find out Telex was a thing. Although it all seems to be rack mounted PC based rather than big typewriter things.

                        They were telling me that in some circumstances faxes aren't legally binding as pages can be added or removed whereas you can't do that with a Telex

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Fax

              @snake : yes, e-mail is insecure. But consider fax :

              - when we get a fax in the office (fortunately increasingly limited), it usually arrives on a shared fax machine. Anyone passing by can peruse it at will.

              - more often than not, it’s afterwards scanned *on the same machine* to have a digital copy to store… how else can they keep that precious piece of paper that might state a customer’s order ? Put it in a binder somewhere, where physical presence is required while more and more people are working from home ?

              I’ll grant you that there probably is a use case for fax somewhere, but not in a business environment.

              1. Snake Silver badge

                Re: Fax machine

                Because you can't move a fax machine that receives sensitive data to a private office?

                Are any of you people listening to yourselves??

                1. Allan George Dyer
                  Paris Hilton

                  Re: Fax machine

                  @Snake - "Because you can't move a fax machine that receives sensitive data to a private office?"

                  Yes, you can, but that's not an intrinsic feature of fax. It's an add-on solution that requires extra office space, secure locks, key distribution etc. More cost, more inconvenience.

                  Do you listen to yourself?

                  People leave fax machines in an open office for the same reason people don't bother with end-to-end encrypted PKI -secured email. It's too much bother, and most messages are junk.

            4. Cybersaber

              Re: Fax

              Also, most 'fax' machines still around aren't fax machines at all, but are multifunction printers/copiers.

              So then let me re-arrange that to more accurately spell what a 'fax' machine is in those setups:

              It is an unprotected WAN connection that bypasses firewalls and connects directly to a poorly secured, IoT device, probably with a cross-connection to your corporate LAN.

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Fax

              Anyone who thinks their email is more secure than a standard, direct-dial fax, under normal circumstances, is simply a technologist fool. I'll be downvoted, but prove me (plus the systems, and the industries that use fax) wrong, you can't

              I can. You can send a test email, and then examine the headers. Well over 95% of email traffic is now encrypted, and if mail reception shows a sane approach to TLS encryption you're OK for safe transmission from that specific domain to your MTA. Unfortunately you will have to check that for every originating domain separately but it's not as impossible as you make it out to be.

              By the way, from my days in legal intercept I can tell you that faxes are very easy indeed..

              1. Snake Silver badge

                Re: Fax

                "Well over 95% of email traffic is now encrypted, and if mail reception shows a sane approach to TLS encryption you're OK for safe transmission from that specific domain to your MTA."

                Did you read my point about email encryption in health care, where thousands of systems operated by tens of thousands of workers have access to those shared credentials? Did that register that in regards to everyone's assumed level of "security"??

                I'll leave this here while you re-contemplate those numbers...:


                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Fax

                  That still does not demonstrate that fax transmissions are safer.

                  1 - TRANSMISSION over email is 95% encrypted. In other words, hard to intercept. What you're talking about is shared access, which is the equivalent of having a central fax machine at a hospital division's reception desk.

                  2 - At least there is at least still a layer of credentials in the way of access. A fax machine will spit out a fax when it receives it (most people do not even know about secure storage), whereas with an email there is at least some access control.

                  Maybe it's time to stop flogging. Your horse is really very much dead.

                  1. Snake Silver badge

                    Re: Fax

                    You people just won't quit.

                    Fax is INHERENTLY more secure because it is EPHEMERAL. It is only a SINGLE end point to end point transmission over either (a) a closed-wire (POTS) system or, (b) an encrypted VoIP system. Once transmitted the ONLY versions that exist are the source printout...and the received printout (that can change, admittedly, on fax-to-storage systems or some modern fax machines with "memory").

                    And what, exactly, is email? A message sent over an open RELAY system. OK, you may bring up a solid point that if the email is encrypted that the open relays don't matter. Fine. But that encrypted messages is then received and STORED on a worldwide-accessible device (the email server), of which EITHER the server *or* the individual account has the possibility of being compromised from any where in the world.

                    Oh, look! Just today


                    Plus, PLUS, thanks to the modern desire to use the 'magic' of IMAP if you delete the email after reading it, the message STILL stays on the server! Only moved to "Deleted!".

                    In other words in comparison to fax, email is not ephemeral. It stays in systems in order to be accessed, most often even if deleted. On a machine which can never, ever, ever be 100% secured.

                    After the fax transmission itself, only a paper remains. No data retention (again, unless you ASK for or purchased that functionality). So unless you are being hacked for the exact length of that fax transmission, and then this is recorded, hackers have a really small target footprint to attack.

                    Why don't you ASK banks and the health care system how much they trust your wonderful email systems with sensitive data?? Oh, wait, what? They DON'T?! HOW SHOCKING!!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Fax

                      You clearly have never been near to secure email and ephemeral key systems and even the use of capital letters won't hide that, but let's leave that aside.

                      Let's start with your baseline assumption that there is, indeed, a physical fax machine instead of the fax-to-email that is even built in to some fax machines. That means protecting a physical device at the point of reception (as stated before). You will also have a job finding a machine without storage buffer, as most of the machines now have one for receiving when the paper is out, and a few use that buffer also for reprint or retransmission (read: STORE the last transmission, so no more ephemeral options for you).

                      That's your end point, but you also seem to be under the very much mistaken impression that the use of PSTN somehow magically secures this transmission. Do you really think it's still a game of someone slipping a couple of crocodile clips onto some contacts that are in movies always at a conveniently accessible spot outside the building?

                      PSTN switches are now without exception all electronic and most voice comms goes in the background via VoIP - eminently tappable and for faxes convertible into a TIFF (usually, as that's the simplest format conversion) on remote, because those switches are no longer poked at by a man in a van. Just like any other IT gear management and control is done remotely and yes, plenty of instances where that remote management was about as well secured as your average Windows PC (i.e. inadequately). Or you pay to play, because PSTN traffic happens to be tappable by default as that happens to be a standard condition of license for every single telco in Europe. Yes, every single one of them is equipped to tap your precious fax traffic at the press of a few buttons.

                      Not so for Internet traffic (although they try, but it's easy to secure), but switches are by default capable of setting up intercept of anything traversing PSTN because they have to, it's a mandatory requirement.

                      You're also asserting that your precious fax machines can be secured, and at the same time state that email reception cannot. I question both those assertions. The former because the devices are too simple, the latter because I seem to know more about email than you do.

                      Anyway, please enjoy your faxes. Just don't put anything confidential on them.

                      1. Snake Silver badge

                        Re: just don't put confidential info on your fax

                        Are you simply ignoring FACTS or simply arrogant?

                        What part of "many banks and health providers won't use email for sensitive data" DID YOU NOT GET??!! They accept ONLY fax. ONLY.

                        Are you in your own self-created BUBBLE?? Have you actually dealt with a bank and sensitive data lately, or only speaking through your back end? The fact that, when I was under contract for my new home and arranging the mortgage, the bank would only send me an notify me that a message was posted to their private chat network, which I logged in to only via a specialized app?

                        Because they would absolutely NOT send sensitive personal data via email.

                        Or the radiologist I went to several months ago, but my PC forgot to forward the referral and necessary medical details? I had to call her office and get her to FAX the info over, whilst I waited?

                        You are not LISTENING because you arrogantly think that your viewpoint must be correct because you can prove it to *yourself*.

                        I'm working in the REAL WORLD. Here in the real world, if the info is sensitive or highly confidential the businesses DEMAND fax. ONLY. It can be a pain! I don't have a landline and must wait to get the fax machine access. But it is not my choice, they demand either hard-copy mailed, or fax ONLY.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: just don't put confidential info on your fax

                          Maybe I work with more modern banks than you (yes, multiple banks, and internationally so). Do yours, perchance, also still use parchment, goose feathers and ink for their ledgers? How do you think they communicate internally and amongst each other then? Tins with bits of string? Pigeons? Smoke signals, or maybe that's just the Vatican Bank?

                          The only reason faxes are still used in some countries are because they still have legal statue (ditto for telex in shipping), but there are plenty (email based) electronic systems which have now acquired signature validity, typically in countries that don't have a problem with national ID cards and sane governments so citizens carry the access key with them (IMHO not a perfect solution, but it works).

                          As a matter of fact, there are even countries where ONLY an electronic signature or an on-site physical signature is acceptable, and no longer a fax because it's kinda easy to forge a signature on a fax - the low resolution masks the evidence of an edit.

                          As for your precious radiologist, Hammersmith hospital (to use a UK example) was digitising Xrays some 25 years ago and already transmitting them electronically. In the country where I am right now, a scan gets digitised and automatically immediately added to my centralised health record. This approach also has the advantage that they can work with fantastic resolutions because, you know, fax machines are not really high resolution (unless you use an all-in-one on either end as they fudge the fax protocol to up the resolution, but then you're back to the whole storage problem).

                          Let's jump to another area with really sensitive data then: justice. Maybe you don't know this, but there's such a thing as the Criminal Justice Secure eMail (CJSM for the acronym addicted) which is used to send hyper sensitive information back and forth between MoJ, solititors, courts and all the other merry players in the system, and I know for a fact it's secure (sorry, there's an OSA in the way of telling you how I know this for certain). Try suggesting sending case details via fax and see what response you'd get from the lawyers, QCs and judges in that system - even the luddites will set you right.

                          Maybe you work in a little niche world where faxes are still deemed the most secure way of sending data. Maybe buggy whip vendors still have a place in that world too, but claiming you're in the real world? Nah. Maybe you should get out more. Travel a bit. See how they do things in other places, other countries, other cultures. Maybe read a bit about security. Bruce Schneier was marketing himself too loudly for my taste, but there's no denying that his books are very well written and accessible - read a few of those. Maybe sign up for some classes with Ross Anderson in Cambridge.

                          Just don't do that by fax.

          2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: No print? No buy.

            "There's nothing (indeed there is a lot less) that a fax machine gives you than an emailed PDF (or just a simple image file) doesn't"

            It's only relatively recently that the UK has permitted things to be electronically signed. Prior to that, faxes with actual signatures were the only way to do things apart from physical delivery of papers. It's probably still the case in some US jurisdictions and other parts of the world.

            1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: No print? No buy.

              Which is of course ludicrous. A PDF with a squiggle on it is at least as good (i.e. not very good) proof-of-signing as a fax with a (very pixellated) squiggle on it. Again, dinosaur rules: if a fax is good enough, then a scan of a document is good enough (as an aside, I don't really think either is, but that's by the by).

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: No print? No buy.

                It's not so much ludicrous, as a ludicrous artefact of the rule of law. Faxes had been established to be acceptable, legally binding, signed documents, equivalent to physically delivered papers. Whilst it's reasonable that electronic documents should be acceptable too, it requires something - legislation, a test case - to establish that they are. Until that happens, to be sure requires a fax or hard copy.

                1. DryBones

                  Re: No print? No buy.

                  Psst, don't look now but DocuSign is a thing.

            2. unimaginative Bronze badge

              Re: No print? No buy.

              Not true, at least in general.

              Here is a ruling from 2006 that says typing a signature in to an email is equivalent to signing on paper:

              and that is with regard to a document on which 17th centure legislation requires a signature. That is based on common law so it reflects the law as it has been from centuries before email was invented.

              Most contracts do not require a signature - a verbal contract is usually just as binding as a written one, but the problem is proving it exists, or what was agreed is what you claim is agreed.

          3. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: No print? No buy.

            There's nothing (indeed there is a lot less) that a fax machine gives you than an emailed PDF (or just a simple image file) doesn't.

            All the fax machines I've encountered in the last ten years have produced and emailed PDF rather than a print out.

            I used to amuse myself by imagining how many times a particular document had been converted between analogue and digital in it's journey. eg a user would type a document in a word processor (digital), print it out (analogue), scan it in the fax machine (d), which would convert it to pulses down a phone line (a), it would then hit the VoIP ADC and get converted back to digital, before going out to the phone network, and at the far end would be converted into analogue pulses again, which would be converted into a digital image in the fax machine, converted to a pdf, emailed, and then very likely printed out at the destination (a).

          4. the spectacularly refined chap

            Re: No print? No buy.

            How very backwards. There's nothing (indeed there is a lot less) that a fax machine gives you than an emailed PDF (or just a simple image file) doesn't.

            About 18 months ago I installed not one, not two, but three fax machines at home...

            It began with two distinct requirements: the first was I wanted a robust printer for my workshop that can cope with sawdust or being left years on end without use before springing into life at a moment's notice. The second was that home scanners are universally crap in terms of being able to actually integrate them.

            Printing is easy to explain: direct thermal printers are pretty much foolproof and taking roll paper makes them a lot smaller than even the smallest modern MFD. Scanning is a little trickier since people take the fault for granted - you need to use a computer to control how to handle the document. Use a fax machine and you have a built in interface in the number dialled. Internal faxes get sent directly to my file server and saved or emailed according to the preference of each family member. Alternatively I can dial a different extension number and have it filed directly into the appropriate folder for the content in my DMS.

            The machines themselves are simply large desk phones so they are unobtrusive and the original multifunction device - phone, scan, print and copy. I can't say how convenient it is if I make some notes in bed to get it filed and actioned from my bedside phone.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No print? No buy.

              I've had a couple of HP Pagewide printers, and they were perfectly capable of scanning directly to email as well as to a shared drive. They could also happily send and receive faxes as a built-in function, with built-in directories as well as screen touchpads for entering numbers (easy) and email addresses (badly, due to the small size of the screen).

              They would, however, be rubbish at the whole not-printing-for-ages thing because they're basically inkjets with heads as wide as an A4 sheet - they're designed to work their way through a 500 page ream of paper in 10 minutes, not to sit idle for days.

              I suspect there will be colour laser printers with the same ability. It's not like it's rocket science.

      2. nautica Silver badge

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Personally, I'm confused as to why anyone is still using the INKJET functionality.

        1. MarkTriumphant

          Re: No print? No buy.

          For printing photographs? Laser printers don't really do good enough colour for that sort of thing.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: No print? No buy.

          Inkjets are the latest and greatest, or so HP would have us believe. Some of those big, floor standing "copiers" you see in offices are inkjets these days, not laser printers. Considering the price of ink, it fair surprised me to discover this. The ink cartridges are huge, about half the size of what you expect to be the toner cartridge. And you can feel the ink sloshing around in them. Must hold at least half a pint. Very nearly half an arm full!

          They are quite quick though. Apparently, the print head doesn't move. It's simply very big, the full width of an A3 page.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No print? No buy.

            HP does a Pagewide model (well, a new series, the first black ones were not very good). Those have a printhead that is as wide as an A4 sheet so it doesn't need to move the head when printing. It takes a few seconds for the first page to appear but it then happily spits them out at almost a page per second, it really is stupidly quick, even double sided.

            However, when you have twice bought a full set of cartridges for it you have basically spent the money for that printer once again because they're high capacity - it's only good if you have use for it, otherwise I'd get a laser instead.

            There are also ever so slightly larger inkjet printers where the inkjet cartridges contain some 2 to 5 LITERS of ink (I've seen them, it's kinda fun to hold a cartridge with its contents measured in liters). They are used for digital printing of foil (food) packaging and the charges are typically not for ink but per unit printed. It's relatively expensive compared to conventional package printing so it's usually used for small runs but it's quite interesting to see it build up a roll of printed packaging - yes, the ink is dry by the time it comes out of the machine.

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: No print? No buy.

            "Must hold at least half a pint."

            My god, that must be worth a small fortune!

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: No print? No buy.

      I'd love to find a printer that doesn't go "No, f**k you trying to print a black and white document, I'm low on Magenta".

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Stick to B&W printers, presuming general office use

        1. Martin Gregorie

          Re: No print? No buy.

          Better: stick to B&W laser printers, especially if you're a low volume printer user.

          Laser printers don't have:

          - a built-in unreplacable roll of head-wiping ribbon (thank-you Epson Stylus)

          - ink to dry out and go gummy long before the cartridge is empty (all inkjets)

          The last printer I bought is a black and white HP laserjet, purchased for the above reasons 4 years ago and still working without complaint on the smaller-than-standard 'trial' cartridge it came with.

          1. Tom 38

            Re: No print? No buy.

            100% agree! Our HP inkjet (£30 when new) ran out of ink again, and I refused to pay £35 for another black ink cartridge, and over the strenuous objections of my dear wife bought a £130 Brother MFP laser.

            It's starter toner does 700 pages, or twice as many as the HP "XL" ink cartridge, a replacement 3000 page toner is £25, the drum is rated for 12,000 pages, it holds 250 sheets in a proper tray instead of the awful 10-15 page top feeder system on the HP (that constantly had paper jams), it prints duplex, 30ppm instead of 2, worked flawlessly with linux, android, windows..

            Just wish I had got it instead of getting the HP originally.

            1. Muscleguy

              Re: No print? No buy.

              That’s bit of a turnaround. Brother used to be notorious for high ink/toner costs. Cheap printers, high running costs.

          2. GuildenNL

            Re: No print? No buy.

            My 2008 HP multifunction color ladder still works well.

            Not the best scanner, but I don’t need great scanning all that often. I hate HP, but got it for free from them.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: No print? No buy.

              "My 2008 HP multifunction color ladder still works well."

              Well, I suppose that's at least a step up from an inkjet since you rung the changes and went with a laser printer. That shows stile :-)

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: No print? No buy.

        I had a Brother DCP something or other that would happily allow monochrome printing if the colours had run out. Even more so, if the black had run out, there was a mode that would try to fake it using the colours.

        I think my HP inkjet might also support black only printing, but you need to remove the colour cartridge otherwise it'll keep reporting that it's out of ink.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No print? No buy.

        Xerox Laser printers have a mode called "Run Black", where it bypasses color completely -- It doesn't even print those little yellow dots that identify the machine, so THEY won't be able to trace your manifesto to YOUR exact printer.

        "Run Black" seem like a feature too good to be true, and I don't know if it's on every model, so YMMV. They also include a decent amount of toner in the new printers, often have genuine PostScript and some impressive Pantone matched stuff to import to Photoshop & Illustrator. The hardware is well-built, and they (theoretically) have a 1-year on-site warranty. The drivers also don't have hard-sell ads. They're certainly not photo printers, and the built-in profile for photos is inexplicably awful, but if you use the right paper, you can get pretty good prints.

        Xerox products are so good you almost forget the horrible drivers, the fact that the printer will vanish from the wifi network, or sometimes throw a (not-really) fatal error if doesn't like something else on the network. Or that when it thinks you've inserted the wrong type paper, or in the wrong tray, it won't print, and it's nearly impossible to convince it otherwise.

        You also have to pay a couple hundred bucks extra for duplex & wifi, and the fact they want $1000 for a full set of toner+drum cartridges for [my] VersaLink C400, which I got on sale for $350 + free shipping. (Xerox lasers go on sale for incredibly low prices). Fortunately, LG Products toners are reasonable. I'd pay a little more for genuine Xerox, but I mean, $1000? C'mon.

        Did I mention when the printer upgrades it's firmware, it will sometimes reset the admin password to its serial number, but won't tell you, and isn't documented anywhere, and the only known way to get into the printer without the serial is a service tech visit with a physical device, which isn't covered by warranty?

        Great printers, but only if you have a high tolerance for hardware that sometimes decides to be a dick for no reason. I also think there's a reason to despise Xerox, but my apathetic misanthropy precludes concern for it.

        TL;DR: With printers, it's choose your poison.

    4. BOFH in Training

      Re: No print? No buy.

      The last time we bought a Canon laser MFD for the office, which was about 3 years ago, brand name or model was not the main concern.

      First thing we looked at was which of the multiple possible laser printers had easily available 3rd party toners, before we even considered pricing or anything else. No doubt toners are not as expensive as ink, and they dont run dry, but when considering that there maybe be lots of printing every month(small office, 100s of pages per month is alot for us), it adds up over the years we intended to use that printer.

      We have probably saved an amount equal to what was paid for the printer by now, in terms of cost savings from third party toners.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No print? No buy.

      epson, brother, hp, and the rest of the competition like this post. In the spirit of liking this post, have already made changes to imitate canon!

  2. redpawn

    It is still multifunction

    It gently warms the desk by consuming electricity, is a cat bed and it serves as an advertisement for other brands.

    Edit: I didn't say that it performs these functions equally well.

    1. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

      Re: It is still multifunction

      and it serves as an advertisement for other brands

      Like Lexmark , ah HP, no I meant...


        neither nor

        Lexmark: Last time i got my hands dirty by having to deal with the SW-crap they produce, it behaved like the computer had become member of a so-called church which to leave is near to impossible. Try and deinstall a Lexmark printer! The whole Windows printing system is an unrecoverable mess. Lucky the man who has an image of the clean and functioning state.

        HP: Had the same issue with a HP MFP many years ago. The scanner part was defective. Repair economically not worthwhile. The printer part in solidarity refused to work, same as Canon :-(

    2. G40

      Re: It is still multifunction

      Massive chuckle. Thanks.

  3. -tim

    There had to have been a logical reason, right?

    I know of an HP multi-function that is warning about a "scanner error" but the scanner isn't the flat bed scanner on the top of the device, it is the laser scanner that paints the image on the drum when it should print that isn't spinning fast enough that causes the error. At least that device has reasonable errors vs the guess the light dot pattern problems of my older HP printer.

  4. Anonymice

    Standard Industry Malpractice?

    I've got an Epson inkjet that's exactly the same. When *any* of its colours run low, it flashes up a warning that can't be bypassed & covers the entire interface, essentially blocking the use of any of its other features.

    However...if you use a generic driver instead of their 400MB monster, the touch screen remains blocked, but you can still send print/scan commands via the OS.

    They don't pull this shit with laserjet. I've decided this is the last inkjet I'll ever own. It's not worth it. When you calculate the total cost of ownership, it's far cheaper just to pay a professional printshop for the odd high res prints you might need.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      Exactly, I’ve done the same. Inkjets’ main function is sucking money out of your wallet.

    2. Richocet

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      Just because every other manufacturer does it, it doesn't make it OK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

        I think he wasn't saying it's OK, just it's not limited to Canon. It's what happens when some industries are left to "self-regulate", and they just devise new ways to gouge customers.

        I too I'm sure I've seen Epson and HP AiO models with the same issue - no inks, no scans. The "One" in All-in-One for them means "Ink$" probably. Some other models may work anyway, but it is true that when buying one unless you look for the manual online and read it you won't be able to know before buying.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

          This isn't really about self regulation. More regulations aren't the answer. It's about people continuing to buy these products even while loudly whining about the problems. If people had stopped buying HP and Canon inkjets when they first stuck the tip in, the other manufacturers would never continue inserting the shaft and ream it's customers for all they're worth. But people continue to complain and whine and bitch about it and then continue to throw money at these manufacturers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

            I stopped buying them but it's still happening. What's up with that?

            1. Gene Cash Silver badge

              Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

              I stopped buying them but it's still happening. What's up with that?

              The idiocy of the standard consumer that assumes HP, Epson, and Canon are quality, and don't bother to ask someone with experience.

              1. VicMortimer

                Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

                And someone with experience will simply tell you that yes, they're all quality, and that bad quality is in fact a quality.

                It really doesn't matter what brand printer you buy any more. They are in fact all junk.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

              You have tracking blocked, so they don't know it's you.

              I enabled javascript, removed my adblocker, loaded Chrome, and logged into Facebook.

              Now they know its me, I just get a square deal from the all big corporations, and they don't even bother trying to shaft me any more.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

            Customers more often than not have little choice and are denied the information they need to perform a really informed choice.

            Cars (and many other devices) became safer only when governments stepped it, otherwise they would still kill more people than needed, and most people would not be able to evaluate the safety of a car (or any device) before buying it. Nor media would often do the required investigations, because you know - ads keep them alive. That's also true for non-safety related customer rights like this one.

            Moreover soon any practice that brings in easy money is copied by everybody - let me know when you find an ethically reliable company that refuses to make easy money because they care about customers.

            This is in no way limited to HP or Canon - other brands act or acted the same way as well, and it does not happen in the inkjet market only.

            That's also true for other customer rights like the "right to repair" and the like. You can't "vote" with your money only, because the balance of power is so asymmetrical that without authorities stepping in companies will build cartels - even without real agreements, the easy money are enough - to gouge you easily. And even you can find that rare model that it's slightly better, it won't be probably easily available to most buyers.

            1. Anonymous South African Coward

              Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

              Moreover soon any practice that brings in easy money is copied by everybody - let me know when you find an ethically reliable company that refuses to make easy money because they care about customers.

              And that goes for Big Pharma too.... everybody does it.

              Car manufacturers too. Of course their cars may be safer, but they all are pushing for denying the right to repair, because they can shaft the customer with services etc.

              Any new fondleslab thingy, especially specific stuff from specific *cough* manufacturers are hard to disassemble due to copious amounts of glue and other whatnots.

            2. CHEVCHELIOS

              Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

              Same dodgy practices from Canon as usual then. Back in 2000 my dad purchased me a Canon Bubble jet printer BJC 5100. Used that for 2 years before my windows 95 tower (IBM Aptiva) packed in. Purchased a new Win XP desktop with a parallel port and found to my horror that canon didnt provide win xp drivers. (They stopped providing drivers for anything abovr win 2k/win 98 for some of the popular bubblejet models) I did try the win 2K drivers and tried all the various webforums to try and find a solution to get it to work. Never worked. Felt a shame that I had a massive paperweight that was barely two years old. Binned it and never purchased Canon again. Any vendor who does this kinda shitty behaviour should be named and ahamed.

          3. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

            Sounds like you're saying it's the customers' fault. If a minority stop buying, it's tough luck that the manufacturer continues doing something they can get away with because a majority didn't stop buying?

            No, there are consumer protection rules for a reason and you can't go down the victim-blaming route and to say "stop whining, it's your fault for putting up with it" (or rather "it's your fault because someone else put up with it")

          4. EnricoSuarve

            Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

            Currently sat looking at an Epson-3520 with the exact same problem as in the article - it thinks it has run out of cyan so will not do anything including scan.

            Actually it is displaying 'cartridge not recognised' despite having already half emptied it over the last few months.

            If I could replace it with something reliable that had cheap ink, the functionality I want and just worked I would; thing is who makes one? Printer before was an HP and threw a hissy fit if it even looked at an alternative ink cartridge...

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      Didn't used to be. We have an (admittedly 15 year old) OKI colour printer that throws a dismissible warning when any of its four toners is low, but there's a config setting that allows you to override it. We do, and get about 10% more prints after the warning says 'toner empty'.

    4. wheelbearing

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      My office had a Brother MFP from the 2000's, inkjet, it was reliable, great when it worked, and ran for at least 15 years, but when any of the inkjet colours ran out, no more scans.

      I often wondered if there could be some kind of possibe workaround, if you had the smarts / access to the device firmware.

    5. Mage

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      My colour Brother ink MFC was the same. No PC fax or Scan if any ink cartridge was exhausted. No black print even if C Y or M was empty. I don't bother with high quality photo print now so use a duplex colour laser MFC from Brother. It seems to still scan with exhausted toner. No Fax, but I didn't use fax on previous laser MFC and only once on the inkjet. Last used fax about 2014 using modem on a 2002 laptop.

      Fax might still be needed by lawyers, NHS and parts of Asia. I use either Viber or email now instead.

      The last inkjet I had that did decent photo print was about 2002 anyway. The current laser is as good as cheap inkjets for colour and about 1/100th of running cost!

    6. Joe Drunk

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      I too have an Epson AIO inkjet that won't print or send faxes if ink is low. Remarkably I am still able to scan so I can use it with a USB Faxmodem to send the occasional fax. I have a separate laser printer for printing (no, I won't mention brand names I'm not here to help $BLOATEDCORP$ make more money).

      I won't buy another AIO anything from any manufacturer ever again.

    7. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      I understand that HP DOES pull this shit with their newer Laserjets (there was a Reg article several months back where HP uploaded a new firmware which expired toner carts by date).

      Thankfully my LJ5 does not have the remote firmware upload capability. And its Canon engine is still churning out beautiful quality prints. I should have bought one of these years ago.

      An oldie but a goodie.

    8. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      +1 for go to your local print shop, I find my local shop can do magic even with low res input from webpages for sensible prices.

      I always recommend printing a few good/important photos off your phone now and again as protection against data loss.

      Professional printing is not just good quality, it keeps its colour too.

    9. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

      Ahhh, that takes me back many moons ago - when we still used inkjets. Or crapjets, as the BOFH would call them.

      The end came when I struggled to clean the printer head of our crapjet. Suffice to say it got tossed - left on the street for an unlucky bastard to take home with.

      Now we stick with laser. We have two, a color and a mono. Never had any issues with these so far.

  5. JBowler

    Don't by canon ink

    It's true and to make it worse the printer guzzles ink every night to ensure the print heads don't terminally dry up (which they do if they aren't fed with ink; I'm sure you can think of an analogy.)

    So I buy Canon ink because I do print from time to time; most of the ink I buy goes keeping the print heads working. But I used to buy non-Canon ink and it is much much cheaper and works just fine if you don't want to have prints that look readable. IRC once you have accumulated enough used cartridges you can start re-filling them with alcohol and the printer will not remember that it has used them previously, but I haven't tested that. For certain they do seem to detect ink levels, so you could maybe rig an arrangement with some needles, some tubing, and a bottle of Vodka and it would carry on forever.

    1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

      Re: Don't by canon ink

      The analogy you're looking for is dairy cows. You have to milk them every day or they stop producing milk. They will restart milk production but it takes several months after you get a bull to fuck them.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Don't by canon ink

        It's fine to keep the bull on standby so long as you don't mind dealing with all the bullshit.

    2. deadlockvictim

      Re: Don't by canon ink

      I have a simpler rule: don't buy ink.

      Get a laser printer, preferably one that requires 4 cartridges.

      Secondhand ones aren't bad if you don't print very often.

      I picked up an OKI 321dn on a free ads website from a student finished with her studies. I had to replace 2 of the 4 toner cartridges and the generic ones work well. I print a few times a month and the print quality is good.

      1. derrr

        Re: Don't by canon ink

        Same here, I've a Oki C531DN (single pass colour), been consuming refilled toners for 4 years now. Have done 1 transfer belt 'reset' and done the 'wire thing' on the fuser once to reset that.

        Cheap printing at about £100 per year for a set of toners that last about 10 reams (5000 sheets) of paper.

        Also the quality is reliable, crisp and somewhat waterproof.

        I'd never go back to inkjet (or 4 pass colour like my old Epson C900)

    3. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Don't by canon ink

      Years ago when colour inkjets became affordable I bought a Canon printer (no multifunction then) because it had 4 separate ink tanks that were independent of the head. You could buy kits to refill them that consisted of 4 bottles and 4 syringes. You filled the syringe and poked the needle through the foam bit on the bottom of the tank (this was the hole that interfaced with the head) and squidged the ink in.

      If you were lucky the ink remained confined to the syringe and tank, if not then life became interesting.

      Even now about 30 years later I still have a duster for something that has a huge cyan stain on.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Don't by canon ink

        Separate heads and nozzles are great for often used devices, but for the four or five sheets a year crowd... useless. They dry up and block within a few weeks.

    4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Don't by canon ink

      the printer guzzles ink every night to ensure the print heads don't terminally dry up

      Really? That's not been my experience at all. I've got a Canon inkjet here that with cartridges that date from at least very early 2020, if not before (I mostly use it for printing photographs, but have had no real need to do that as that business kind of dried up thanks to The Covid).

      Generally, all the printer has done in the past 18 months or so is print out the odd document and very small number of photos, and ink levels don't seem to have dropped much for non-use.

      I always switch the printer off when not in use - maybe that does the trick for stopping it using ink. I can't say I've noticed any degradation in print quality for non use.

    5. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: Don't by canon ink

      so you could maybe rig an arrangement with some needles, some tubing, and a bottle of Vodka and it would carry on forever.

      Is that how the Sputnik vaccine is produced?


  6. Medixstiff

    This was going on 12 years ago.

    I remember when I was working for the biggest outsourcer in Oz at the time, that Canon and HP both realized the money is made on the consumables, hence why inkjet MFP's were being sold at AUSPost stores for $59 and Laser MFP's for $99.

    1. MisterHappy

      Re: This was going on 12 years ago.

      This is why I used to buy a new printer every couple of months.

      Years ago Lexmark sold inkjet printers with a 1/2 filled colour & black ink cartridge for £19.99. When they ran out it was £54 to replace them... Or £19.99 for a new printer.

      After a year or so the printers started shipping with only the 1/2 filled colour cartridges but I was lucky enough to re-home an unwanted HPLJ6P by then.

  7. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

    Suspect I was lucky

    When I needed a printer I did not need a scanner and when I needed a scanner I already had a printer. So, separate, and, until now, happy.

    Takes up more space, though.

    But, reading this and other horror stories, if I need to replace these, will again buy separately. Unless they stop manufacturing them separately.

    1. NATTtrash

      Re: Suspect I was lucky

      Almost sounds like confirmation of the *nix mantra:

      "Do one thing, and do it well."

      ...which has been "a talking point" regularly. ;)

  8. marcellothearcane

    Is this something open-source hardware could solve? At first I thought ink would be a problem, but then there's enough ink cartridge clones out there that branded printers try as hard as they can to reject...

    Maybe even buying a cheapo printer and flashing/replacing the motherboard?

    1. Dwarf


      Great idea

      It’s already been done with 3D printers so no reason why it couldn’t work with 2D

      I’m just not sure that there is the same need for 2D printing any more though.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "Maybe even buying a cheapo printer and flashing/replacing the motherboard?"

      Yes. 3D printing is pretty open. People make their own from scratch, even.

      We need something similar for printing. The big limiter is probably those delicate nozzle heads.

  9. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I'm pretty sure HP also does this. Or at least did this. I had one of those. Went to the skip when the ink ran out.

  10. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    I really hope Canon gets royally reamed for this even if only the lawyers really benefit directly. And then the ambulance chasers go after any other printer company doing the same shit.

    Will help stamp out the practice for the rest of use.

    1. NATTtrash

      Will it really change something? TBH, the "subscription" model is already too far down the road, and too well recognised and acknowledged by commerce. No hardware and software to own any more, you're "allowed use", and $USER is "helped" not to stray and "hurt themselves™". So use it according their T&C and as they allow, with the "oversight" to make sure you don't lapse. Stop paying? Stop functioning. Everybody here can think of at least 10 examples that use this model. So...

      Yes, I hope you are right. But I suppose I'm too grumpy to expect that it will change anything (for the better).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        TBH, the "subscription" model is already too far down the road

        It's something like this that might haul it back.

        1. Our Lord and Savior Rahl

          I don't know, I have a proper subscription HP with HP Instant Ink. The printer has worked fine, the ink is cheap enough and I don't have to mix with the peasantry to go and buy cartridges anymore.

          TBH I'm happy with it as is. Think I pay £2 a month for the minimal printing I do (mostly Traveller Character sheets and the like) which works out about 4p a page. The same as printing it at my old work.

          Horses for courses I guess.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Traveller?? Goodness. Not heard of any activity there for many years. I take it that you have plenty of gaffer tape on hand?

            1. MarkTriumphant

              Traveller must be doing well, as Mongoose Publishing continually produce new content for it. It's not bad stuff, either.

  11. mark4155

    HP or not HP that is the question.

    Recently, about a year ago, bought a colour HP laser printer/scanner.

    £390 in Curry's, with £100 cash back. Silly me for falling for the old cash back scam.

    Nothing in the box or receipt to tell you how to claim. I the end I managed to speak to the unhelpful help desk at HP. They said I had run out of time and would not give me the £100.

    The black toner ran out, the machine refuses to accept any other cheaper toner cartridge and HP want £80 for a single black replacement with a capacity of 2100 black copies that's 4p each before the paper.

    Time HP was taken to the cleaners, they are as bad as the rest.

    1. andy 103

      Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

      before the paper

      This made me laugh. You can get 500 sheets in Tesco for under £3. I wouldn't worry, it'll only add under 1p to that cost.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

        I've always encouraged people to use proper coated papers for inkjets - the regular papers and worse still the ones that have been minimally calendared if at all have a surface pill of fine fibres that can poke up and block the nozzles. I worked for the best part of a decade in a college of print and design and saw thousands of students through their various courses. We ended up having to lock the (expensive photo quality SRA2) inkjets away to prevent students using regular laser paper scavenged from the paper trays in them. It cost a fortune to maintain the printers - we only used manufacturers inks and papers - it was the only way to maintain the quality. The ones that were nearing the end of life we used to use for more esoteric duties - printing onto weird surfaces like foiled paper, waterslide transfer and vinyl.

        1. elwe

          Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

          Why on earth were using using inkjets for serious photo printing? Why not use proper dyesub printers?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

            Cost and size, essentially. Our dye sub (a FujiFilm proofer, can't recall the exact model now) would set you back £18.00 for an SRA3 print (maximum size), whereas the inkjet was only £8 for the same size. We didn't do a lot of photo printing either - mainly graphic - large blocks of solid colour. Even a dye sub can have problems holding big areas of even colour.

            If you wanted an SRA2 proof on the inkjet it was £20.00, but if you wanted me to run off a SRA2 film and a Chromalin, that would cost you about £80... £10 for the film, £70 for my time and we threw in the Chromalin toners, laminate and board for free (we had a number of very generous donation of surplus stock from various manufacturers, stockists and pre-press houses who decide to get some shelf space back when they finally went fully digital)!

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

              And we never had any students paying for a full print run on the Heidelberg either! They only saw their work come off there as part of a teaching exercise, and we usually had to do those as individual A5 pages with imposition up to an SRA2 sheet size ready for print finishing to turn them into exhibition booklets for the end of year show.

              We did have quite a few who paid for a print run on the digital press though... custom wedding and party invites and the like. That only went up to SRA3 though, so it was no good for big posters.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

            Actually many high-end photo printers are now inkjets. And many high-end professional photographers do use inkjets for their prints. Moreover inkjets can print on a large variety of supports, and there are many kind of papers and canvas available for inkjet printing.

            On the other end, you can now find cheap dye sublimation printers - i.e. the Canon Selphy.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

      Not getting the cashback is on you. Googling HP cashback makes clear how to claim and the limitations. They normally pay up without question, as long as you submit it on time.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

        If the store sold it as "with cashback" and didn't provide the relevant info, that is on them.

        If it was indeed "too late to claim" then they should have made it clear what the dates were.

        If the purchaser waited a while before checking, they can shoulder some of the blame, agreed, because if it were me I'd be checking what I had to do as soon as I got home, or even in store.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: HP or not HP that is the question.

          I've bought lots of HP printers on cashback deals. It isn't a complicated process, and the details are easy to find. As long as someone knows they are supposed to get cashback, they must be expecting to have to do _something_ to get it.

          "if it were me I'd be checking what I had to do as soon as I got home, or even in store"

          Yes, that. I mean, it's entirely understandable someone might forget, but then they can't blame HP or the retailer.

  12. andy 103

    To be fair all *home* printers are shit

    When it comes to *home* printers there are essentially 5 big brands (HP, Canon, Epson, Brother and Lexmark**) and all have flaws.

    I have a new HP DeskJet which came pre-supplied with a deliberately small cartridge that runs out after printing about 10 documents. There's a massive sticker on the front which is trying to get you to sign up to their "Instant Ink" service. No. I don't want to subscribe to printer ink and I worry about people who do. The suggestion of using third party (cheaper) cartridges? Well I bought 2 of those (black and colour) and the black one prints streaky even after going through all of the alignment and cleaning processes on the printer. It's all well and good saying the print yield is 10x that of the HP branded ones but if it prints nothing you can read it's useless.

    I've had printers from all of the other 4 brands and every one has failed to be a decent investment. All have ended up in landfill.

    I'm tempted to buy a second hand office/industrial laser printer - there must be a lot of these knocking around since the closure of offices.

    When people complain about printers it reminds me of when they complain about airlines... "I'll never fly Ryanair...". Ok, you've got a choice of about 2 others to get to your destination. There isn't enough competition and all home printers are crap as a result.

    There is definitely a gap in the market for a new printer manufacturer that makes:

    1. Reliable printers that last more than a year

    2. You don't need a mortgage to buy ink. You buy said ink on your terms (not a subscription service).

    3. Works as an old fashioned "offline" printer. None of this subscribe to inks, send messages to HQ about your printer crap. Local wifi access to the printer fine, but nothing wider than that.

    4. Set up has been designed for an 80 year old. It doesn't have some 800 Mb "app" to connect it to your device/network.

    ** Arguably Lexmark is a workplace/office printer brand these days

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

      My Brother DCP-T710W lets me squirt ink into the ink tanks from unbranded bottles, which is a big plus.

      Trouble is, the software is shite.

      1. Warm Braw

        Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

        I have a Brother laser printer I've used for years without any problem.

        I got a Brother multifunction printer largely because it was the cheapest way of buying a scanner with an ADF. It will, fortunately, scan without ink because at random intervals it produces a "not detected" error for one of the four ink cartridges and refuses to print until the perfectly good cartridge is replaced with a new one: I suspect an expiry date may be programmed in to the on-cartridge chip.

        It does seem to be the "razor blade" economic model that applies to almost anything containing an inkjet printer that's responsible for them being a pain.

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

          We recently (ok... maybe three years ago?) replaced the Brother colour inkjet MFD with a laser (B/W only) version. Cannot remember the model number, but so far I am satisfied with it. Works under Linux (with drivers you can download from their homepage), both printing and scanning. Had no use for it as a fax machine yet, so I cannot tell you if that works from the linux command line (or any program) as well.

          It was reasonably cheap, toner is not too expensive, and lasts long enough for me not to care. The setup using the little LCD on the front of the machine was a bit... well... it sucked. To be fair: you only need to do that once. I'd call it a sensible, albeit unexciting, nay, even bland, purchase. I have not regretted it.

          I would have liked a duplex unit for the ADF, but those add another 300 quid or so to the price (I guess). On the other hand: how often does one need that? About as often as I need to print in colour, maybe even less.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

          Where does the idea come from that razor blades are sold on the inkjet model? They clearly aren't at the moment, haven't been as long as I've been using them, and weren't originally. But that still leaves a good few decades unaccounted for. Were razor handles ever free or significantly subsidised?

          1. Chris G

            Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit


            Google ' Razor and blades model', it dates from the ,1920s so you may not remember it.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

              I've heard of it before, I'm just not sure it was ever true.

              From the wiki lede:

              "Although the concept and the catchphrase "Give 'em the razor; sell 'em the blades" are widely credited to King Camp Gillette, the inventor of the safety razor, Gillette did not in fact follow this model"

              Note that I'm not disputing that the model has been used in other fields. I'm wondering if it was ever actually applied directly to razors, where the idea started given it wasn't with razors, and why it's called the 'razor and blade' model.

              From wiki again:

              "The Gillette company now uses this approach, often sending disposable safety razors in the mail to young men near their 18th birthday, or packaging them as giveaways at public events that Gillette has sponsored.[citation needed]"

              The [citation needed] suggests it's an apocryphal tale, or at least that it hasn't been a widespread, widely reported practice. Anecdotally, I had a good look for a free or subsidised Gillette handle recently, having got some discounted Gillette blades, and ended up paying full price for one - it was actually the opposite of the purported model.

    2. Mike 125

      Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit


      I've had a Brother HL2035 laser for over 5 years. Cost about £70. I don't use it much- but that's the point: it always works when I need it. Never failed. It gently blinks Toner low now, but still works. No bullsh't.

      And certainly no bull-f'king required.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

      Hm, I don't know. I had a Samsung mono laser that was tiny and cost me 50 quid new, 3rd party toner was dirt cheap, I think I replaced it twice in the well over 10 years I owned it, and ended up selling the printer, and it was still working then. Never any issues.

      I replaced it with it colour multifunction Brother laser with an ADF. I'm also happy with that so far, in the 4 or so years I've owned it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

        I have a Samsung laser which cost less than £100 and it has been very reliable indeed.

        Naturally, good things can't last and Samsung's printer division is now a tentacle of HP.

    4. circusmole
      Thumb Up

      Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

      I've had a Xerox Phaser 6510 for a few years now. I don't print a lot but it has been 100% reliable and produces good quality documents and the occasional image. The toner seems to last and last. If it died tomorrow I would probably try and get it fixed or buy another (equivalent model). I have no connection with Xerox.

      1. pip25

        Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

        Same here. Laser printers have been my refuge from all this ink robbery which has been going on since decades, and Xerox's Phaser line works perfectly for home use.

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

          I've found in the past that inkjet gave better quality if you want to print photos. Have lasers improved now for photos?

          1. circusmole

            Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

            @David Nash: My Xerox Phaser 6510 is fine for including images in documents. For photographs and scanned fine art water colour images, where colour rendition is vitally important, I use an Epson ink-jet printer where I use ICC profiles per paper type.

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

            I use dye sublimation for photos.

          3. Piro Silver badge

            Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

            Printing photos at home is, in my opinion, a fool's errand; just order them, I've had great luck with

            1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

              Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

              Printing photos at home is, in my opinion, a fool's errand; just order them, I've had great luck with

              It depends on your use case.

              Using a 3rd party adds cost and turnaround time. You may well need a printer for general home use (docs, etc.) so spending a wee bit more gets you something which produces photo prints which are plenty good enough and removes the reliance on a 3rd party.

              My Canon printer cost well south of £100 and I've printed plenty of photographs which have fared perfectly well for exhibition and competition purposes, as well as commercial sale

              1. circusmole

                Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

                I used to depend on 3rd party printers for photographs and images but became frustrated by the lack of appreciation most of them have for colour rendition. Getting back prints where the known pure white areas have a green, purple, whatever.... tinge and the 3rd party thinking that was perfectly acceptable drove me to distraction. I bought my own ink-jet and after some experimentation I can get pretty good results.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Printing photos at home is, in my opinion, a fool's errand"

              Depends on your meaning of "print", expected quality, and process control. Proper photo printing is not yet a "press the button and we do the rest" process - unless your expectations are quite low.

              Unless you wish to spend the time and money to build the required skills and acquire the requited tools, it's better to leave it to an external lab, sure.

              Still, there are also consumers labs (as the one you use) and pro-grade labs - at very different price points. Again, it's all up to expectations. For example, don't expect much from anything that just handle 8-bit sRGB JPEGs...

          4. pip25

            Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

            In the rare cases when I wanted to print a photo, I've found the quality perfectly acceptable.

            (Disclaimer: I'm no photo enthusiast, I only take pictures with my phone when I'm on vacation and stuff.)

    5. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: To be fair all *home* printers are shit

      Agree, most are, but there might be a few good ones amongst the hundreds of shite ones.

      So I bought myself an old office grade HP2025, only thing I had to do with is was calibrate for the cheap paper I am using, and it's been fine. Not even had to replace toner yet!

      It even lives on the ethernet quite happily which solves the household's printing from different devices.

      I imagine with the rise of WFH even these old workhorses might command top dollar.

  13. Bill Michaelson

    The Canon All or Nothing

    Won't buy Canon because there's a check mark in my brain from decades back indicating that they are likely to do this. Forgot why, and they aren't unique, but they haven't had me as a customer for the past forty years. Spitting in the wind.

  14. Ivan Headache

    With the exception of a couple of laser printers (1 Epson & 1 HP), we’ve been using Canon inkjets for over 40 years (some of them were branded as Apple).

    We currently have a 10 year old all-in-one and a 5 year old A3 photo printer. Yes they are expensive to run, but they have both been remarkably reliable. Like Trigger’s broom though, I have replaced the print heads on both units.

    What bugs me though is that although all Canon’s printers over the past decade or so use “Chomalife” inks, Canon designs each model with a different shaped ink cartridge. What is also noticeable is that each generation of cartridge appears to be slightly smaller than the previous. It should be mandated that all models should use the same cartridges, there is no earthly reason why they should be different for each model other than gouging the customer.

    For a while I used to refill empty cartridges, but found that it wasn’t really worth the effort. It’s a messy process and not exactly reliable, quite often the refilled cartridge would leak inside the printer as it was very difficult to reseal any hole made in the cartridge. That just allowed excess air to get in the top and so the ink just oozed out the bottom contaminating the other colours. Making refilling more problematic was the removing of the viewing window in the cartridge, making it impossible to see how much ink was being squirted in - and then out all over your shirt. I can equate the use of refills and compatibles the the failure of one print head.

    Now I buy all my inks on eBay, or if I get caught out, from Wilco. They have the cheapest genuine inks I have found in the retail shop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "each generation of cartridge appears to be slightly smaller"

      Well, not always.... the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 that replaced the Pixma Pro 1 has 80ml cartridges, double the previous model 36ml ones. That means anyway that replacing a set became much more expensive, although it does last longer.

      But I agree that changing cartridges shapes with every model without good reasons - i.e. doubling the capacity isn't often justified by engineering needs but just to be able to price them differently and make difficult to use older models when one can non longer find them easily. It's another planned obsolescence attempt.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "each generation of cartridge appears to be slightly smaller"

        I find that with laser printers too. It's rare to find a series of printer which use interchangeable toners for a very long time - it's like every new model has a new shape of toner. We've got a number of semi-independent groups here, so funding comes in in drips and drabs. They all want their own printer, and buy one when they get the funding, but it will use a different cart to their neighbour, which means you can't keep a stock of one type and if it runs out in the middle of the night, there's no nicking one from someone else and replacing it later!

        The longest chain of compatibility I found was in the HP 3000 series, where the 3600 went through about 4 or 5 revisions over a 5 year marketing life and was replaced by the 3800 which used the same cartridge and lasted another 5 years of currency or so... after that, the next model at that price/use point lasted about a year or two of being current and it used a different cartridge format again - repeated to this very day. I've given up trying to standardise all these different groups - reliable just-in-time ordering meant I could get away with it. With current logistics problems we may see longitudinal service life become a plus point again - it allows you to keep a stock of bits in to absorb any hiccups in the supply chain.

  15. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Why have a scanner at all?

    For private needs, a flat surface and a phone camera are more than enough...

  16. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Welcome to America

    A lawsuit like this is normal in the US, but if you want to laugh and you're in the UK then read the story again and replace "Cannon" with "Brexit" selling a device that was designed by the Tory levelers and doesn't work quite the same way it was sold as.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Welcome to America

      You mean something that completely refuses to work in one area because of an issue with a functionally totally unrelated area? Yes... I can see that.

  17. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

    Not Just Canon and Not Just Scanning

    It's not just Canon. I've seen Epsons that refuse to do anything at all when out of ink. I've also seen all sorts of brands of printers that refuse to print even black and white when one of the coloured inks is out.

    The whole issue of ink cartridges in inkjet printers has become ridiculous, but laser toner don't seem to cause the same issues.

    I seldom print anything, but when I do I have a cheap mono laser printer which never seems to run out of toner. I bought the thing used for about £30 a few years back - considerably less than the price of an OEM toner cartridge. OEM toner is close to £50, compatible toners are about £15. The fun thing is that I've found you have to jump through hoops to get third party ink cartridges to work in most brands of inkject printer, but I've never had an issue with third party toner in laser printers.

  18. 9Rune5

    Scamming or scanning?

    My Pixma ran out of ink and then loudly exclaimed it required "service". Of course it also shut down the scanner part, rendering every "function" in its multi-function configuration useless.

    Pissed off? You bet I am.

    I'm not an environmentalist, but I still feel upset when I see respected brands being reduced to manufacturing garbage.

    At the very least they need to be forced into providing information on how to reset the printer and provide parts that we can replace.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lawyers will get $4.99 million in fees. Class members will get a $10 voucher usable within the next 12 months against their next Canon purchase. Minimum purchase price $299 applies.

    1. jh27

      > Lawyers will get $4.99 million in fees. Class members will get a $10 voucher usable within the next 12 months against their next Canon purchase. Minimum purchase price $299 applies.

      $10 off their next cartridge isn't to be sniffed at.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      "Lawyers will get $4.99 million in fees. Class members will get a $10 voucher"

      Judges have been clamping down hard on that kind of settlement. A while ago a judge added the condition to one settlement that the lawyer would also get paid in the gift cards he'd negotiated for the class members.

      What tends to happen more often is that judges strike down the part of the settlement dealing with legal fees, and set something which is proportionate to what the plaintiffs receive. That has, in recent cases, led to the class-action lawyers losing money - they've spent quite a lot pursuing the case, then settled for trivial compensation for the plaintiffs plus big fees, and the fees get slashed to the same level as the compensation obtained.

  20. jh27

    I had an Epson ecoTank multi-function printer for my occasional printing needs, for about 18 months - I still haven't used all the ink that it was shipped with - when I eventually do need some more ink, it'll be about £8 per colour, which I expect will last me equally long. I reckon that by the time the ink runs out, I will have spent more on paper than the replacement ink costs*

    * though admittedly, I have two kids who are forever pinching the paper to use for other things.

  21. Pete Sdev

    Very bad from Canon, though I suspect they're not the only ones.

    I'd be curious to whether it's intentional in which case the programmer should have their keyboard licence revoked as well as a cattle prod for the PHB, or it's a case of lazy programming.

    People should be aware that cheap home printers are subsidised by future ink sales.

    Actually, my personal experience of my cheap home Canon printer+scanner has actually been good (though I've never tried to scan with no ink) . The Canon printers I've used have all worked trivially with Linux too. YMMV

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Inkjets? License to print money, mate.

  22. bikernutz

    Horses for Courses

    Inkjets have a vastly superior colour space over any colour laser printer by a significant size factor. If you need to print top quality photos or other images you wouldnt use a laser printer. You would only use a laser printer for soft proofing.

    Canon many years ago produced a cartridge that replaced the inks and turned the printer in to a scanner. It worked quite well but everyone needs/uses much higher resolution nowadays.

    I worked for Canon for over 17 years and bought a BJ20 on staff purchase to use at home. Over £300 list price. It worked great but the ink was water soluble and if my stock sheets for parts in my car got wet it was end of stock sheets and stock control out the window. Cartridges were so expensive on staff purchase even then I bought 3rd party cartridges or refill inks. The refill inks weren't as water soluble - so they were actually better.

    I bought an early colour bubblejet MFD based on the the BJC4000 it was great but they never produced drivers for anything other than Windows 95/98. It would still FAX or scan with the inks low. But it was horrendously expensive to run..

    Since leaving Canon I've used only Epson printers/scanners and a MFD. The MFD still works to scan even on low/no ink either in push or pull scanning modes to a Debian desktop.

    When everything went digital/multi function at my customers businesses I spent lots of time setting everything up on the network for them. If they had multiple devices for everything that was fine. But I cant recount how many small customers such as a single accountant or financial adviser I would suggest putting their old scanners/faxes and printers in to a cupboard to keep as an emergency. The advantage of a single do everything device soon becomes a nightmare if you have an E000/E030 or similar error. Eggs all in one basket springs to mind. For big offices it is still a pain but they will live with it if they can walk to another coffee machine to get to the next printer/device

    Regarding FAX it is still used as someone has already suggested because you can get a receipt to prove it was received by someone/FAX. It doesnt prove who read it but is accepted in courts of having sent documents. IF you have sent it to the right telephone number of course!

    Legal documents to courts would have to be on set size papers according to which country they were in or for. Until inkjets became more complex then it wouldnt matter if the paper inserted was A4, Ltr, Argentinian legal etc. The printer will just print out to what it thinks is there and the formatting would all go wrong or print off the sides. With a laser printer you could watch them stall if it had the wrong paper inserted. Canon used a series of switches at the back of cassettes to configure the paper size and hundreds of customers placed calls for their MFD office machine saying things such as Insert A4 paper because it believed it had Ltr loaded due to damaged paper from a paper jam being incorrectly removed going down the back of the cassette and fooling the switches.

    Just like all technology. Dot matrix, Thermal, inkjet, laser/toner all have their benefits and pitfalls.

    Inkjets dont need a hot fuser and all the errors that can occur. They dont need pressure rollers to assist the fusing process. Lasers that dont use pressure rollers don't fix/fuse the toner to heavy quality layered papers. Cold fused toners produce a shiny surface and the inherent danger of anyone working on such high pressure systems. Still thinking of Canon machines not necessarily digital printers or MFD's. An old cold fuse NP120 series copier had advantages over the NP150 heated rollers of the same era and had some disadvantages. The same with GP200/215 series MFD's that used a low pressure surface fusing over IR 2200's that came later.

    I worked for Canon but I rather suspect the same could be said about devices and technology from all office and consumer equipment manufacturers. :)

  23. Paul 195

    We brought back a Canon printer back from Malaysia. Guess what? It won't print with European ink cartridges. DCMS for ink!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Thus sayeth the ancient canonlore: One Cartridge to rule them all, One Cartridge to find them, One Cartridge to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them...

  25. Omidia

    It's been mentioned, but I've had good luck with brother printers. They're software is a bit annoying at times but it does work well. And their support is very kind but generally unhelpful but hey, 1 out of 2 ain't bad!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does a person even need a personal printer anymore?

    Why do you need to print something except except for employment these days?

    Why not just spit it to the office printer at work?

    And then buy a competent standalone scanner with Linux drivers for future proofing?

    As long as There is driver support, Scanners don't ever really become Obsolete.

    They are stupid simple devices. If you want higher resolution than the driver supports just slow the motor down, and scan in stages stitch your output post process.

    Scanner technology has not changed Fundamentally since the 1980s.

    1. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

      Some people do, unfortunately.

      I do use my printer for printing documents I have to study. Reading on a terminal/e reader does not work when you make(well, I make!) copious notes. And, these WFH days, going to the office is verboten.

      That said, I do have a separate printer and scanner (just pure luck!) and am very happy with both, as of now.

  27. Scene it all

    The mistake is in thinking these companies are in the office equipment business; they aren't. They are in the ink busines, which is much more profitable.

  28. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    If you soak the lower portion of dried inkjet cartridges in hot water for about 20 seconds, they work again... keep dabbing on tissue paper and drying off, soaking, till you see all holes are unblocked - that trick'll do till my HP AIO dies.

  29. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Canon screwed me


    Bj4300 i think it was.... expensive for the time... had cheaper ink

    Died one day after giving out 13 beeps......... looked in the book "send back to canon for servicing" well screw that .. use t' internet

    Nothing.... 12 beeps yes...... 13.... not a thing

    Took the printer apart (with a hammer) after buying a new epson.... nothing.. no broken ribbon cable or anything

    Checked the internet again a few months later and found an obscure canon forum... one of the service engineers revealed 13 beeps says the ink pad at the bottom needs changing, unclip bottom tray, remove cover , change inkpad, reassemble and power on holding paper feed and press form feed twice...


  30. Winkypop Silver badge

    Always bought Canon but…

    …the cartridges were always blocking and claiming to be dry.

    Swapped to an Epson “ink tank” style printer.

    3 years later, only filled the black half a tank, never touched the colours.

    Ink bottles very cheap.

    Never been blocked or locked out.

  31. Conundrum1885


    Once found one of these beasts in a WEEE bin.

    Worked fine for a while, needed a bit of TLC but did print a fair few documents on it.

    The thing that did it in was ribbon cable failure which I couldn't fix.

    Hint: this is the very small printer with the add on battery pack option.

    Alas the user replaceable print heads and somewhat refillable cartridges were probably fine, as

    determined that the cable had simply worn out from constant printing.

    Starting to wish I'd kept them now because they can be connected to an Arduino due to the

    pinouts and function tables now being open source.

  32. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 addition to my previous post: One needs to add a few drops of water and isopropyl alcohol into holes at the top of the ink catridge too - make 'em if you don't have 'em, then partly soak, test, repeat etc. Keep water away from the contacts on the side. Cover holes with gaffa tape. I've just had to do this - should've used the Epson dot matrix lq400, with it's everlasting ink ribbon...

  33. o0o0o

    And not only if out of ink... also on PRINT HEAD ERROR on everything canon!!

    I had bought an MX925, mainly for its duplex ADF. And like any normal user I was printing a couple times per year...

    One day, I switch it on to scan and then reported a Print Head Error, and promptly refused to scan. Despite everything I tried. At the end I smashed the machine, and then send it for recycling. So it would be beyond repair.

    I didn't considered to buy a replacement. Because just one month before that, the (Canon) plotter reported an ominous PRINT HEAD ERROR and refused to do anything. I ordered a brand new PF-04 from Amazon (~350 at the time), it turned up to be a dummy. Sent it back, Amazon sent a second came, Canon support came to install it, it was again NOT! working!!!! Sent it back to Amazon, Amazon dutifully sent with UPS next day a THIRD ONE, that finally, magically, worked.

    It is a shame, I always liked their scanners..

  34. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    It seems almost cheaper for Canon to fix the problem. To enable scanning and faxing when out of ink.

    Or to give out free non-working dummy ink cartridges that turn off the "no ink" sensor but that possibly activate another "don't print" behaviour.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PIXMA models have an out-of-ink override, no help there?

    (Some?) PIXMA models have an out-of-ink override: would that re-enable scanning (and/or override also: PRINT HEAD ERROR & missing print head error)? Can anyone confirm?

    Even if so, won't defeat lawsuit if it's an undocumented/secret feature.

  36. JG0203

    OEM cartridges, in my experience, function best, despite the fact that they are significantly more expensive than third-party cartridges. Pigment-based inks are distinct from dye-based inks. The majority of off-brand refill cartridges use dye-based inks, which do not print the correct colours. If you're having difficulties allowing your printer to accept them, try doing this after you've installed the new "off brand" cartridges and while the printer is setting up with fresh ink cartridges. Remove the printer's powersupply from the wall and re-power it so it can finish installing alien ink cartridges. It's possible that it'll reset and like them at that time. If the waste ink reservoir is genuinely full, it's a good idea to put a few paper towels under the printer.

  37. Al fazed


    My Canon MG 5450 is a few years old and I mean two or three, but it has "developed" this issue of late.

    I am used to being told that the printer has run out of ink and that I need to order new stuff before I can proceed when printing. I got used to ignoring the message, and I wait 5 minutes or more rather than pressing CANCEL. Wahey, the printer noisily gets it act together and knocks out another 100 or so pages in full colour.

    Not to be out done the scanner had a go at pulling the wool over my eyes just the other about it wouldn't let me scan a document into the PC because I had run out of ink.............

    Not to be out done by Canon's AI updated shaftware, I popped the offending ink cartridge under the cold tap then popped it back into the printer, and Wahey no.2 the scanner duly jumped to and allowed me to scan 40 odd pages without any complaints.


    I know Canon do not want me to print in B and W when I have run out or am about to run out of one colour of ink. I have two fucking full black cartridges in this noisy beast but I am not allowed to print using it..............

    BUT why the f*cking hell is WINDOSE 10 unable to talk to my USB scanner when GIMP et al can. Even Canon's Image Garden dries to a crisp weedy yard if I invoke it's scanning services under WINDOSE 10.

    A BSc in Information Systems has not helped in thihs instance. I just won't buy Canon or HP or (x,y,z) printer scanner in future.


  38. MarkTheMorose

    Canon MP610

    Same here with my Canon; just the other day I wanted to scan something, but because one of the two black ink cartridges had run out, the printer refused.

    Instead of trying to take the shirt of Canon's back, I'd be happier if they - and all manufacturers of similar devices - were made to issue updated firmware so that you that you were notified that an ink cartridge needing replacing, but you could 'OK' it and carry on scanning.

    And why, if I'm printing in black only, do I have to go out and buy cyan, magenta, or yellow?

    Other than those two issues, the MP610 is otherwise a decent printer and scanner, and works fine in Linux Mint.

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