Class Action Alleges ‘Energy Star’ Label is Misleading
A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against LG Electronics over the company’s “Energy Star” labeled televisions. The complaint, filed in California federal court, alleges that the label is misleading. The putative lawsuit alleges the LG Energy Star-labeled televisions use twice as much energy as expected. The suit alleges that consumers are charged extra for the Energy Star label, and also pay extra later on for higher-than-expected energy costs.
The consumer fraud class action lawsuit attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing consumers in various class action lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit over deceptive or unfair business practices.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Energy Star program in an effort to promote efficient energy use. When an electronic device carries the Energy Star logo, it indicates to the consumer that the product meets the highest standards for energy efficiency.
The proposed class action lawsuit, however, alleges that the Energy Star label is misleading on LG TVs. The plaintiff, a California resident, alleges that the televisions no longer meet energy-efficient standards once users change the settings. Allegedly, consumers pay extra in two ways, the complaint alleges. At the time of purchase, LG charges extra because their product carries the Energy Star label. When the television is being used, consumers pay more than expected for energy costs.
“The promised benefits of efficiency and energy-savings were illusory,” the complaint states, according to Law 360. “For class members who purchased LG’s televisions, the promised savings from reduced energy bills never came. Instead, LG deployed firmware to make it all but certain that key energy-saving features would be inactive during normal consumer use.”
The plaintiff intends for the class action to represent any individual who purchased an LG television from 2011 up until the present. The televisions utilize “automatic brightness control” and “motion detection dimming settings”. The proposed class action also seeks to represent a California subclass.
The putative class action states that Energy Star-labeled televisions are supposed to be 25 percent more energy efficient on average, compared to conventional televisions. However, the complaint alleges that the LG televisions fail to meet these standards when the default picture settings are adjusted. The plaintiff cites test results from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
NRDC issued its report in September, which showed that the televisions only meet energy-saving standards during testing. Once consumers make changes to the default, the energy-saving features are disabled, such as when the settings are changed to “Standard.”
The plaintiff purchased a 55-inch Energy Star-certified television, which was represented as being energy efficient. She alleges that she was never informed that the product would lose efficiency once the settings were changed. She alleges that if this information were disclosed, she would not have purchased the product.
“LG’s misrepresentation that plaintiff’s television was among the most energy-efficient of televisions was an immediate cause of plaintiff’s decision to purchase its product,” the complaint states, according to Law360. “She would not have agreed to purchase the television, or would have sought materially different terms, had she known that the misrepresentation was false and misleading.”
The plaintiff is suing for breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranty, violations of California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of obligation of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent inducement, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and common law fraud.
Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Background
Parker Waichman notes that many class action lawsuits are filed alleging consumer fraud. These types of lawsuits are filed over allegedly deceptive business practices. Generally, a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleges that consumers were deceived into purchasing a product under false pretenses. In the LG television class action lawsuit mentioned previously, the plaintiff alleges that the Energy Star label deceived her into thinking that the product was more energy efficient than it actually is.
With a class action lawsuit, one complaint represents a number of plaintiffs. The group of plaintiffs are collectively known as a “class”. The class action complaint alleges that the plaintiff class is wronged by a common defendant in the same manner.
Consumer fraud class action lawsuits may be filed over improper labeling or false claims. For example, Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to pay $5 million to settle a consumer fraud class action lawsuit involving its bedtime bath products, which are labeled as “clinically proven” to help babies sleep better. However, plaintiffs allege that these claims are false because there is no actual evidence to support them.
Similarly, a class action lawsuit was filed against Herb Thyme Farms alleging that the company labels its products as organic when in fact the foods are grown conventionally.
Consumer fraud class action lawsuits have also been filed over slack-fill packaging; this is when a product packaging contains extra space that does not serve any purpose. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that the use of slack-fill is misleading because it deceives consumers into believing that they are getting more product than they really do. The outer packaging in products that use slack-fill is opaque, meaning consumers are unable to view the contents within until they purchase and open the package.
Court records show that a consumer fraud class action lawsuit was filed against gourmet food gift maker Harry & David alleging that the company uses slack-fill in its popcorn tins. “While some of defendant’s slack-fill may have functional justifications related to packaging requirements, defendant’s total slack-fill exceeds the amount necessary for this,” the lawsuit states. “This is proven by the fact that the slack-fill in defendant’s products is significantly greater than the slack-fill in the packaging of comparable gourmet popcorn products.”
Filing a Class Action Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a class action lawsuit, contact Parker Waichman today. Our experienced class action and product liability attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).