Printer manufacturers implicated by a criminal complaint in planned obsolescence

January 8, 2018

The association Stop the Obsolescence Program (HOP) has filed a complaint in obsolescence programmed and deception with the Prosecutor of the Republic of Nanterre. The facts challenge printer manufacturers' practices to deliberately shorten the life of printers and cartridges . The marks HP, Canon, Brother and in particular Epson are cited in the complaint.

This is the first French legal action on the basis of the planned crime of obsolescence.

Among the techniques identified:

elements of the printers, such as the ink absorber pad, are falsely indicated at end of life;
the blocking of prints on the pretext that the ink cartridges would be empty while there is still ink.
If proven, these practices could be described as planned obsolescence recognized as an offense since the 2015 Energy Transition Law.

Indeed, Article L. 441-2 of the Consumer Code states that " the practice of planned obsolescence, which is defined by the use of techniques by which the person responsible for placing the product on the market is prohibited, is prohibited. a product aims to deliberately reduce its life to increase the replacement rate .

The crime of obsolescence scheduled is punishable by two years imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 euros that can be increased to 5% of turnover.

More broadly, the association denounces a continuous increase in the price of cartridges -
€ 2,062 per liter of ink or twice as much as Chanel 5 perfume! - and the willingness of manufacturers to keep control of this lucrative business by preventing the use of generic cartridges that cost less.

The lawyer of the association, Mr. Emile Meunier declares: " I invite you to read the precise and thorough investigation carried out by the association. It reveals that the practices complained of affect all manufacturers. It is now up to the Prosecutor and the judiciary to make sure of this through, inter alia, judicial expertise. These facts could also reveal an illegal agreement between the printer manufacturers. This is why we have also informed the Autorité de la concurrence. Millions of French printer owners could be harmed. "

According to Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder and CEO of HOP: " The association was alerted by many citizens outraged by the short life of printers and cartridges. After investigation, we have reason to think that there is really a problem. Printers ready to throw are symptomatic of a consumerist model that we denounce, but this concerns all sectors, from tights to washing machines .

It is now up to the Prosecutor to decide what to do next: to investigate and prosecute. Otherwise, the association plans to take a civil action directly with the investigating judge.

To succeed in this challenge, HOP is now launching a donation appeal on the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform ( to secure the necessary funds to ensure court costs. Making a donation for HOP is above all to contribute in its own way, to change the lives of millions of citizens and to join forces against a revolting waste of money.

Association Law 1901, HOP (Stop obsolescence programmed) was born in July 2015. It aims to raise awareness and influence in favor of extending the life of products. It combats programmed obsolescence in all its forms, be it technical obsolescence, obstacles to repair, software obsolescence or even aesthetic obsolescence. It affirms the centrality of this fight to reduce waste, respond to climate change and reduce social inequalities.

It has 1 employee, about 30 volunteers and more than 4000 members. These are gathered around a manifesto that calls to think the planned obsolescence, to inform the consumers and to act by various means, including in justice.

For nearly two years of existence, the association has sensitized more than 15,000 people, organized 8 HOP events, participated in about twenty conferences (COP21, Produrable Salon, French Institute of Barcelona ...). It is supported by ADEME as part of a program to raise awareness among citizens and schoolchildren on the theme of planned obsolescence.

Co-founders of HOP, Laetitia Vasseur and Samuel Sauvage are authors of the book From disposable to sustainable , to finish with the planned obsolescence(Gallimard editions, January 2017), the first work centered on the solutions brought to the planned obsolescence. A committee of experts accompanies the association in its strategy and on the substantive topics.

In addition to its information and consumer federation role, HOP conducts advocacy actions to change the existing legislative framework. Along with other associative actors, she led a participatory campaign entitled "Opé 2017" to mobilize candidates in the presidential election on the theme of the life of products.

Concerned about the need to provide operational solutions, the association works with many companies involved to extend the life of products. The imminent launch of a Club is part of this dynamic. HOP is also working with voluntary companies to experiment on the display of the lifespan of certain products.

At the same time militant and constructive, the association counts on your support to answer the planetary challenge posed by the various forms of programmed obsolescence.

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