This means that consumers will have to wait until the appeals are completed to receive their settlement benefits, which will be issued 90 days after the final hearing.
The appeal came in response to a settlement between consumers and Epson America, Inc. (EAI) involving early shutdown of Epson's ink cartridges. Plaintiffs alleged that Epson InkJet cartridges were specifically designed to indicate that they are "empty" when in fact ink still remains in the cartridge. When the cartridge indicates that it is empty the printer function is suspended and will not work again until a full cartridge is inserted.
The settlement allows members of the lawsuit to receive either a $45 credit to be used at the Epson E-Store, a combination of $25 check and a $20 Epson E-store credit, or a discount of 25% off Epson E-Store purchases for a total discount of up to $100. All settlement benefits are offered to customers on a per-printer basis. Epson will also pay attorney's fees and any additional benefits that the court deems appropriate.
Despite offering credits to its customers, Epson is not required to change its cartridge software and technology to reflect the actual level of ink in the cartridges. Rather, Epson will include a note on its packaging that each cartridge includes an ink safety reserve and will provide literature that explains why ink safety reserves are necessary for ink cartridges.
The lawsuit was filed in California and other state courts claiming Epson committed several offences including breach of contract, breach of implied warranties, unjust enrichment, and fraudulent concealment. Epson America, Inc. denies any wrongdoing but decided to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost of litigation.
In order to be included in the lawsuit, claimants had to have purchased, leased, or otherwise received Epson InkJet Printers between April 8, 1999 and May 8, 2006.
Epson is not the only company to come under fire for printers that shut down before the cartridge is actually empty. Other companies include Hewlett Packard (HP), Lexmark, Canon, Dell, and Brother. In 2002, Lexmark faced a class action lawsuit claiming that they forced consumers to use only their ink.
Other problems with inkjet printers include a "killer chip" that prevents re-manufacturers from making compatible cartridges and expiry dates on cartridges requiring that they be replaced even if they have never been used.