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July 21, 2014

House Bill Would Limit ‘Energy Star’ Class Actions

After 2010 congressional testing found that many consumer products carrying the Energy Star label “did not deserve the listing”, a “wave of class action lawsuits” was filed against the companies that manufacture the products.

Now, a bill introduced by Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH) and co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), would prohibit such class actions lawsuits “if the E.P.A. came up with a remedy, like reimbursing consumers, for products that did not live up to their billing.” The bill, reports the New York Times, is backed by a number of companies, including Whirlpool, which is located in Latta’s district.

The Energy Star system, was created in 1992 to “identify efficiency among products as varied as refrigerators, washing machines and televisions.” In 2010, Congressional auditors tested Energy Star by submitting applications for the label to “ridiculous products, such as a gasoline-powered alarm clock.” Many of the applications for such products were approved, and flaws in the testing of other products were identified.

As a result of those findings, Congress ordered that products are now required to be checked by an independent, certified laboratory, and are subject to random spot checks on the store shelves.

Companies, such as LG, Samsung and Whirlpool, have all faced class-action suits over products that fell out of compliance.

Read the full story here.

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