This Week in Imaging: First-of-its-Kind Lawsuit Questions OEM Page Yields

Epson Replaceable Ink Packs (RIPs) that are rated to yield up to 75,000 pages.

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, an office equipment dealer is suing an OEM for allegedly inflating supplies’ yields – and requesting an eye-popping $20 million in damages.

In a nutshell, the dealer stated that Epson promised it would be able to lease Epson printers and MFPs, charging customers XXX amount for ink, but purchasing the ink for far less. For instance, it stated that Epson representatives told it it would be able to sell the ink at $0.01 per page for black prints and $0.04 for color prints “to get 50 percent margins on Epson large Work Force Enterprise machines.”

The dealer however states that its evidence shows that Epson’s stated ink yields are supposedly substantially lower than what Epson states, resulting in much higher ink costs, which has resulted in significant financial loss to the dealer.

Epson has many office-equipment dealers at this point, but only one has publicly made a complaint like this. Meanwhile, as you may have guessed, there’s never been any instance of an office-equipment testing company reporting that Epson’s stated page yields are so blatantly in error.

The lawsuit is also a bit ironic in that Epson was one of the first inkjet-printer makers to tackle the high cost of ink issue by introducing models that used high-capacity, replaceable ink packs or refillable ink bottles, both of which provided much lower cost-per-page (machine pricing was higher, but the more it printed, the more economic that pricing became). HP Inc. and Canon later followed Epson with refillable ink tank models with low cost-per-page.

It’s also ironic that Epson would allegedly spend untold resources – such as recruiting management from copier OEMs – in order to switch from the entry-level, high-cost-per-page segment to the office and enterprise segments where a competitive cost per page is required.

Of course, toner and ink yields have always been, a controversial topic in the industry. One stumbling block that’s caused some confusion has always been page coverage – there’s a big difference between ink used for a page containing some text and a small color graph and a page containing a full-page color photo. While testing has standardized appropriate page coverage, those who print heavy text and photos simply won’t attain the manufacturer’s state page yield.

How this lawsuit will be resolved of course remains to be seen, it’s quite likely  Epson will also present its own evidence showing that its stated ink yields are accurate.

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Printer/MFP Dealer Seeks Millions in Damages as it Sues Epson Over Alleged Low Ink Yields

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