Campaigners hail tech 'obsolescence' probe

used printer cartridges

Prosecutors launch investigation into Epson after consumer group's complaint over printer cartridge 'programming'

Campaigners have welcomed news that prosecutors in Nanterre have launched an investigation into so-called 'programmed obsolescence' and deception against Japanese printer manufacturer Epson.

They believe it is the first time in France, and possibly the world, in which judicial authorities have launched an official probe into 'scheduled obsolescence', which became illegal in France in August 2015.

"It's a great victory for consumers," a lawyer for consumer protection group Halte à l'obsolescence programmée (HOP) said. In September, the group had filed a complaint claiming that Epson, along with other brands Brother and Canon, 'programmed' ink cartridges so that they needed replacing before they were completely empty.

The preliminary investigation by the Nanterre Public Prosecutor's Office is, however, currently limited to the Epson trademark.

HOP filed another complaint on Wednesday, December 27, against Apple after the tech giant admitted it had deliberately slowed down the performance of older iPhone models.

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