An electrical retailer has been fined £5,400, with £9,400 costs, after a government-funded survey found one of its products carried the wrong energy efficiency label.
It was far less efficient thatn claimed.
Enforcement of energy labelling rules is generally poor and such prosecutions are rare (ENDS Report 419, p 27).
In 2009, Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards unit bought three Ice King DM-35 chest freezers from a website run by John Gillman and Sons (Electrical) Ltd, as part of a project run with the environment, food and rural affairs department (DEFRA).
The freezers were made in China and Gloucester-based John Gillman and Sons is their sole UK distributor.
Its website said the product had a ‘B’ energy rating.
But when the investigators took delivery of the freezers, the labels attached to them showed A+ ratings and an energy consumption of 215 kilowatt hours per year.
The freezers’ real ratings were found to be E and F and their average energy consumption was 382kWh/yr.
Appearing before Northampton magistrates on 20 August, the firm pleaded guilty to six offences under regulation 9 of the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
DEFRA recently handed responsibility for enforcement of energy labelling rules to the National Measurement Office (NMO) to try and improve enforcement.
One sixth of more than 300 products tested by DEFRA last year were incorrectly labelled. The results were passed to the NMO to follow up.