|March 2, 2012|
Previously published on February 23, 2012
Under settlements announced by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on February 22, five companies marketing replacement windows are required to stop making exaggerated and/or unsupported claims about the energy efficiency of the windows the companies sell and the savings consumers may realize by having the windows installed. The settlements are part of a broader effort by the FTC to ensure environmental, or “green,” claims are substantiated by scientific evidence.
The FTC's complaints allege the five companies, (Gorell Enterprises, Inc., Long Fence & Home, LLLP, Serious Energy, Inc., THV Holdings LLC and Winchester Industries) engaged in deceptive practices by making unsupported energy efficiency and money-savings claims about replacement windows the companies marketed.
The proposed settlements each have two parts. Part I prohibits each company from making unsubstantiated claims about its windows that include a specified amount or percentage of energy savings, or reduction in consumers’ heating or cooling costs, or a guarantee or pledge that consumers who replace their windows will achieve such energy savings. Under the settlement, the marketers may make such claims only if they have “competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate that all or almost all consumers are likely to achieve the maximum savings claimed."
Part II prohibits each company from making unsubstantiated claims that a specific number or percentage of consumers who replace their windows will achieve energy savings or reduced heating or cooling costs; or claims about energy consumption, energy costs, heating and cooling costs, or other insulating properties or energy-related efficacy.
In addition, if the company claims or guarantees that consumers will achieve specific energy savings or reduced heating or cooling costs under certain circumstances, those circumstances must be prominently disclosed near where the claim or guarantee is made.
Lastly, all claims including the words "up to” must have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate that all or almost all consumers are likely to achieve the maximum savings claimed.