The Sydney Morning Herald today reported that LG has found themselves in some hot water over dodgy practices for certification of green credentials for their refrigerators. In fact, I’d say that the water is well over hot, and edging towards scalding. Quoting the article (since eventually the link will probably disappear):
AN ELECTRONICS manufacturer with a history of making false environmental claims has been caught doctoring fridges to make them appear more energy efficient.
LG Electronics has agreed to compensate potentially thousands of consumers after two of its fridges – models L197NFS and P197WFS – were found to contain an illegal device that activates an energy-saving mode when it detects room conditions similar to those in a test laboratory.
The so-called circumvention device was discovered last month by consumer advocacy group Choice.
The device detects test conditions and activates the mode, creating the impression of lower running costs and energy usage. The devices have been banned in Australia since 2007.
(Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2010, Melissa Singer.)
After describing this incident in detail, Melissa Singer went on to add:
LG Electronics has agreed to pay affected customers $331 to cover the unexpected increase in their power bills, but has not agreed to refund the purchase price of the fridge.
It is the third time LG Electronics has been caught making false claims about its products’ environmental credentials.
In 2008, it had to repay $3 million after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled it had inflated the energy efficiency rating of five models of air-conditioner.
As someone who works in IT, this reinforces what I constantly say: third party/independent auditing is a must to verify that claims and guarantees offered by vendors and service providers actually stack up. And those who are shown to be blatantly lying must be punished.
As a consumer, I find LG’s tactics disgusting. Rebranded from Gold Star to LG in 1995, LG has remained a brand synonymous with “cheap and cheerful”. It has a lot of popularity in a lot of circles, but personally whenever I see LG I remember the vile and dodgy little TV I had in the late 80’s/early 90’s with the cheery “GoldStar” badge on it.
Not so cheap on the environment. Not so cheap for consumers. Definitely not that cheerful.
LG deserve all the bad press they get from this.