US Government Charges Firm With Misrepresenting Light Output & Life Expectancy of BulbsSeptember 21, 2010 by Jeff Shepard
The Federal Trade Commission has sued a California-based light bulb manufacturer and its principals to stop them from misleading consumers by exaggerating the light output and life expectancy of its Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs.
As part of the FTC’s continuing work to stop deceptive advertising, the agency filed a complaint charging that since 2008, Lights of America, Inc. has overstated the light output and life expectancy of its LED bulbs on packages and in brochures. The agency also charges that Lights of America misled consumers about how the brightness of its LED bulbs compares to traditional incandescent lights.
The FTC alleges that in many instances, Lights of America’s LED bulbs produced significantly less light, as measured in lumens, than the company claimed in its promotional materials. For example, one bulb was promoted as producing 90 lumens of light output, but Lights of America’s own tests showed it produced only 43 lumens.
Also, in many cases, Lights of America deceptively compared the brightness of its LED light bulbs with incandescent bulbs, the FTC alleges. For example, the firm claimed that one of its LED lantern bulbs could replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb. However, while the typical 40-watt incandescent bulb produces about 400 lumens, the Lights of America LED bulb produced only 74 lumens.
Moreover, the FTC complaint states that in many instances, Lights of America’s LED bulbs would not last as long as the company’s promotional materials said they would. In one case, for example, the firm said that one of its LED recessed bulbs would last 30,000 hours. Independent tests, however, showed that the bulb would not last as long as claimed because it lost 80 percent of its light output after only 1,000 hours.
In filing the complaint, the FTC is seeking a permanent injunction to stop the defendants’ allegedly illegal conduct, as well as monetary redress for consumers who bought the deceptively labeled products.