Epson to End ‘Loaded and Ready’ Claims for EcoTank Inkjet Printers

Epson WorkForce ET-4500 EcoTank

Epson WorkForce ET-4500 EcoTank

The National Advertising Division reported today that Epson America has said it will voluntarily and permanently stop advertising claims that its EcoTank inkjet printers are “loaded and ready,” following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD).

NAD determined that Epson “provided a reasonable basis for certain implied cost-savings and environmental claims, but recommended Epson discontinue unqualified claims that consumers can ‘save a small fortune on ink’ by purchasing an EcoTank printer.”

NAD reviewed Epson’s claims following a challenge by HP Inc.

HP challenged Epson’s claims that:

  • EcoTank printers offer “an unbeatable combination of convenience and value.”
  • EcoTank printers will “save [consumers] a small fortune on ink.”

NAD also considered whether Epson’s advertising implied that Epson EcoTank printers provide “significant, general environmental benefits, are more beneficial for the environment than other printers, or offer consumers substantial cost savings versus other Epson or competitive products.”

Following its review, NAD determined that Epson’s voluntary discontinuation of the challenged “loaded and ready” claims was “appropriate to ensure that consumers do not take away the inaccurate message that EcoTank printers are pre-filled with ink and ready to print.”

NAD also recommended that Epson discontinue its use of the claims “loaded and ready with up to two years of ink in the box” and its use of the phrase “loaded and ready” in two YouTube videos. Regarding Epson’s unqualified claims that suggest that “2 years of ink” have been pre-loaded in ink tanks, NAD recommended that Epson clearly indicate that the ink is included in the box.

NAD determined that Epson provided “a reasonable basis for the implied claim that there is a solid-waste reduction environmental benefit associated with Epson EcoTank printers’ high-capacity refillable ink tanks when compared to other inkjet printers that use disposable ink cartridges,” and that “this benefit is meaningful.” NAD also determined that the “EcoTank” name itself “does not communicate a general environmental benefit and that Epson need not change the name of its product.”

NAD determined that “consumers can save money on ink over the life of the printer by using an EcoTank printer.” However, it recommended that Epson “discontinue the unqualified claims that EcoTank saves consumers ‘a small fortune’ and ‘lots of money’ on ink.”  NAD noted, however, that nothing in its decision stops Epson from making the claim that consumers can “save money” on ink – provided that the basis for the savings is “clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

NAD determined that the claim “unbeatable combination of convenience and value,” in Epson’s two YouTube videos was supported, and found that the videos adequately disclosed the basis for Epson’s value claim.

However, regarding claims on the Web site that Epson EcoTank printers “offer an unbeatable combination of convenience and value,” and are “Economical,” NAD recommended that the font size of the disclosures be increased to a size that is more easily visible.

Epson, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “agrees to comply” with NAD’s recommendations and thanked NAD “for recognizing that consumers can save money on ink by using an EcoTank printer … [and] there is a meaningful environmental benefit associated with EcoTank’s refillable ink tanks … While Epson disagrees with NAD’s findings regarding Epson’s use of ‘loaded and ready’ in its advertising, the vast majority of the materials containing ‘loaded and ready’ were phased out early this year and any remaining materials will be discontinued,” the company said.

Note that NAD recommendations to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims “should not be construed as an admission of impropriety.”

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