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Moriarty & Diegnan Bill to Inform Consumers about Cost of Ink When Buying Printers Advanced by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) to better inform consumers about the high cost of ink when they buy a printer was approved Thursday by an Assembly committee.

“Many consumers are unaware of the real cost of a printer when they purchase it, because they are not provided with enough information about the cost of ink,” said Moriarty. “This bill would help establish a rational mechanism for people to ascertain the lifetime costs of owning that printer.”

“You may pick up a printer for a reasonable price, completely unaware of how much you are really going to spend long after that purchase for the ink,” said Diegnan. “This bill helps better educate consumers about what they should expect to spend in the long run when they pick up a printer.”

The bill makes it illegal to (1) sell a printer without information indicating the average cost per 1,000 printed pages for black text and, if applicable, color printing; and (2) to sell an ink cartridge without information indicating the ink cartridge’s yield. Under the bill, this information would have to be included on the printer’s or ink cartridge’s packaging, or on a conspicuously attached label or tag.

The bill specifies that the average cost per page is to be calculated by dividing the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the printer’s cartridges by their yield. Yield is to be determined using standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization.

A violation of this bill is an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act which is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. In addition, a violation can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages, and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party.

The bill was released by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee chaired by Moriarty.