Retailers failing to display energy labels properly

Our second round shop inspections are done and the results paint an unwelcome picture.

MarketWatch checked 30,000 products in 243 shops across Europe, online and offline. Half the products we looked at had labelling problems. One in five had no label at all, making it impossible for consumers to accurately judge the energy performance of TVs, fridges and a host of other common products. A further one third either had formatting problems (20%), were out of sight (4%) or on the wrong product (3%).


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We found nearly 500 products for sale that should no longer be placed on the market because they are considered energy guzzlers, though it is impossible for us to tell if this is old stock and therefore compliant. Either way, retailers should be looking to end these lines for the good of shoppers. Vacuum cleaners, tumble driers and air conditioning units were among the worst offenders.

Things were particularly bad online, where just one in three products were properly labelled. These failures all break EU Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling Directive rules and leave retailers open to being fined by national authorities, who will receive the MarketWatch second round retail report.

Shop inspections took place in a range of stores, from big electrical retailers to hypermarkets and specialist showrooms. They were selected for being higher risk and are not representative of the market as a whole. Named results will be published shortly, following dialogue with the retailers. The second round results are consistent with our first retail report.


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The European Commission last week announced that energy labels will get a makeover, a move it said would be good for retailers, consumers and manufacturers. Trade body Eurocommerce said it welcomes clearer labels, but not the hassle involved replacing old labels. It earlier told the press that the sector was not ready for new online labelling rules. We’re sorry to see it not taking a more proactive stance here, for the benefit of customers.

Energy guzzling appliances can add hundreds of Euros to any home’s electricity bill, yet big name retailers are letting down the 85 percent of shoppers that use energy labels to compare fridges, TVs and big ticket products. Retailers know they’ve got a problem, especially online, and its time they got their house in order.


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