Obsolescence programmée : Epson pris la main dans le sac

Epson imprimante

Epson programs the blocking of its printers. Planned obsolescence is still relevant.

Printers are essential tools for office life. As they get more and more sophisticated, they don’t seem to have fixed their main flaw: recurrent and sudden crashes. Error messages appear and the only way to print this document that you absolutely must obtain is to call an authorized repairer. However, he walked very well the day before.

Has the room in question suddenly decided to go on strike? not really agree fight to mend, which projected several Epson brand printers. It was after the publication of a tweet by Mark Tavern, a professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, that the forum dedicated to repair inquired about the subject. The man explains that his wife’s printer is blocked by displaying a message: “The device has reached the end of its useful life.” The only option for him is to pay a repairman or buy a new printer.

According to fight to mend, these error messages are programmed by the company to prevent further damage due to the end of life of certain parts. Epson explains on its website the following:

“Like many other products, all of Epson’s consumer inkjet products have a limited lifespan due to wear and tear on components during normal use. At some point, the product will reach a state where satisfactory print quality cannot be maintained or the components will have reached the end of their useful life. (…) Printers are designed to stop working to the point where further use without replacing ink pads (issue cited in Mark ndlr case) could cause property damage from ink spillage or related safety issues excess ink in contact with an electrical component”.

According to fight to mend, it is the L310, L360 and L365 models that would be affected, however other models and brands could use the same strategy. Epson did not respond to requests for Fight to Repair.

An illegal practice?

In fact, Epson wants to protect its users and their devices by applying the precautionary principle. At least that is the argument put forward by the company. However, is it really legal? fight to mend addressed Aaron Perzanowski, professor of law and author Right to Repair. “As far as I know, this practice is not clearly disclosed prior to the purchase of these printers. Even if there is a hidden mention in a license or website, a software time bomb like this goes against reasonable consumer expectations.”

A contrary practice

Planned obsolescence came to light a long time ago. This practice has disastrous environmental consequences. Excessive consumption leads to the production of 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste and home appliances every year around the world. we think so 16 to 20 kg of said waste are thrown away per person per year. This type of practice, therefore, weighs heavily on the bill.

Furthermore, planned obsolescence not only has consequences on our waste production, but also leads to increased production and depletion of resources, destruction of land and vegetation. In France, according to article 99 of the 2015-992 law, planned obsolescence designates “the set of techniques by which a marketer deliberately seeks to reduce the useful life of a product in order to increase its replacement rate”.

she is punished with two years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros, the amount of the fine could be increased up to 5% of the annual average turnover. It is also worth remembering that in 2020, the government implemented the mandatory repairability qualification of products as part of the anti-waste law. It lets you know at a glance whether the product you want has a long lifespan and whether or not it is expensive to repair.

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