Online retailers failing legal duty to supply correct energy information on household appliances
Brussels, 25 June 2014 – Retailers are failing a legal responsibility to systematically provide energy efficiency information to online shoppers looking for fridges, TVs and other domestic appliances, according to a survey by MarketWatch, an EU-backed campaign by consumer and environmental organisations.
The survey of 111 online retailers and 114 high street shops in 11 countries in late 2013 and early 2014  found that an average 62 percent of online products had missing or incorrect EU energy label information. The most common problem was information shown in the wrong order, risking consumer misunderstanding.
The survey comes hot on the heels of two court findings against Amazon and Ebay related to displaying EU energy labels online .
Announcing the findings at EU Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels, MarketWatch co-ordinator Frances Downy said: “It’s encouraging that most retailers seem to be displaying some energy performance information on products to help steer shoppers through a complicated area. The biggest hurdle now is missing or wrongly ordered information. The prizes for getting this right are switched-on consumers with lower energy bills and a society less dependent on unreliable and expensive fuel imports.”
High street retailers seem to be doing better, with an average of 12 percent of products with missing labels and a further 11 having incorrect labels – an improvement on findings from other studies in recent years. TVs and air conditioners were the most problematic products, most often because retailers did not attach a label, modified it, or put it in the wrong place. Refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines were most likely to be labelled correctly.
MarketWatch is working with retailers and will check up on their performance, as well as pass on its findings to national authorities empowered to take legal action under the Energy Labelling Directive. MarketWatch will extend its survey to other retailers in two further survey rounds. For more information visit www.market-watch.ngo