Trust in products after VWgate

TV makers questioned about VW-like software tricks and fridge-makers stripped of their energy label – recent media revelations may well have shaken trust in Europe’s energy label. So how far can the public now trust that colourful tool?

There are some clear parallels with VWgate: government agencies saying TVs appear to be gaming official tests through clever software. With the VW story hot, the news soon made headlines worldwide and it wasn’t long before journalists were asking us whether we could trust the label at all.

Our answer is ‘90%, yes’. This, experts think, is the likely losses of expected energy savings due to manufacturers and retailers not playing by the Ecodesign and energy labelling rules, probably more cock-up than conspiracy. It’s hard to be precise of course –rule breaking and data gathering aren’t great playmates.

We were also quick to point out that the TV story raises concerns from the authorities, not proof, though the Swedes were pretty clear they thought it was more conspiracy than cock-up. So there is no evidence to suggest this is more widespread, but fresh news stories appear almost daily. What is important, and everyone can agree on, is the need for well-resourced government departments able to keep a lid on this area, especially as products get more sophisticated and computerised.

All this sets the scene nicely for MarketWatch lab tests, with the first results expected shortly, as trailed in the Daily Telegraph.

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