Originally published by The Times
Printer manufacturers are facing a groundbreaking criminal lawsuit in France over claims that they deliberately limit the lifespan of their machines.
The lawsuit has been brought by Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (Stop Planned Obsolescence), an environmental association, after laws were introduced to ensure that household appliances last longer.
Under the legislation, it is a criminal offence to “reduce deliberately the lifespan of a product to increase the rate of replacement”. France is thought to be the only country in the world to have introduced such a law. However, the European Commission is considering a similar legislation on an EU-wide scale.
Executives face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum fine of €300,000 if found guilty of planned obsolescence in France. The companies can be fined 5 per cent of their average annual revenue over the previous three years.
The lawsuit is the first since the legislation came into force in 2015. The association says that the four manufacturers that dominate the French market — HP, Canon, Epson and Brother — have all broken the law by encouraging consumers to buy new printers instead of prolonging the lives of their old ones.