Epson to Voluntarily Discontinue ‘Loaded and Ready’ Claims for EcoTank Printer; NAD finds Company Can Support Certain Advertising Claims

New York, NY – Oct. 20, 2016 – Epson America, Inc., said it will voluntarily and permanently discontinue advertising claims that its EcoTank printers are “loaded and ready,” following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division.

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., a competing maker of printers and ink cartridges.

HP challenged express claims that included:

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

NAD also considered whether the advertising at issue implied that 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.

Further, NAD 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.  With regard to Epson’s unqualified claims that visually suggest that “2 years of ink” has been pre-loaded into the ink tanks, in order to avoid confusion 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 the high capacity refillable ink tank of the EcoTank, as compared to other inkjet printers which use disposable cartridges, and that this benefit is meaningful.  Moreover, NAD 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, NAD 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 precludes the advertiser 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, with respect to the claims on Epson.com 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 the company “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 an remaining materials will be discontinued,” the company said.

Note: A recommendation by NAD 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. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.