FTC Adopts New and Revised Consumer Protection Regulations – Consumer Law | Rare Techy
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- What happened: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking public comment on the extension of EnergyGuide labeling requirements to new product categories, and a requirement to include corrective information on consumer product labeling.
- Who was affected: Consumer equipment and product manufacturers and distributors
- What they think in response:Review the FTC’s previous notice of rulemaking and consider submitting a proposal that may affect your business or customer.
Manufacturers will soon introduce strong labeling and appliance repair instructions for a wide range of new consumer appliances. In fact, the FTC is considering amending its Energy Labeling Act to require EnergyGuide labels for some new consumer products and other lighting components, as well as instructions on how consumers can repair damaged products. the FTC’s previous notice of proposed rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register; Public comments on the Commission’s proposals are due 60 days after that announcement.
The FTC’s Energy Labeling Act (promulgated in 1979 as part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975) requires energy labeling for major home appliances and other consumer products to help consumers consumers to compare the energy use and costs of competing models. Also includes labeling requirements for refrigerators, freezers, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, clothes washers, room and portable air conditioners, furnaces, central air conditioners, pumps heating, plumbing products, lighting products, ceiling tiles, and televisions. affixing yellow EnergyGuide labels to many covered products and prohibiting consumers from removing these labels without notice. In addition, it requires consumers, including retailers, to post EnergyGuide label information on their websites and in paper brochures where consumers can order products.
EnergyGuide labels for most covered products include three main disclosures: the annual energy cost, the energy consumption of a product, or the energy efficiency rating determined by the US Department of Energy (“DOE”) test methods, and a comparison range showing the highest and lowest energy prices. or good ratings for all similar models. The Act requires retailers to use national average prices for relevant energy sources (for exampleelectricity, natural gas, or oil), calculated by DOE in all cost calculations. The FTC updates the comparative range and price information annually based on manufacturer data.
Increase in Covered Products
In addition to the product categories listed above, the FTC is considering expanding the EnergyGuide label to the following products:
- Clothes dryers
- Air purifiers/air conditioners
- Different types of refrigeration products (eg, coolers [such as
wine chillers] and products with warm and cool portions)
- Low-intensity lights, full-color “flash” lights and other lighting products not covered by DOE standards
- Residential ice maker
- Decorative fireplaces and outdoor heaters
- Cooktop (eg kitchen ranges)
- Electrical outlets
In response to its notice, the FTC seeks public input on whether the EnergyGuide labeling requirements for the above product categories will help consumers make purchasing decisions; how market changes affect label benefits; typical energy use and energy efficiency of various product models on the market; and what content and formatting requirements are appropriate.
In addition, the FTC will seek public input on whether or how to modify existing labeling requirements to ensure they are consistent with current consumer shopping behavior, for example, by requesting to affix EnergyGuide labels to “showroom-like” equipment except for other products, including the required information on or in the product packaging.
Right to Correction?
Stepping into controversial territory, the FTC is also considering requirements related to product modification instructions. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 authorizes the Commission to require manufacturers to provide consumers with “additional information related to energy consumption, including instructions on the care. , use, or repair of a covered product” if the Commission finds that information would assist in making decisions about the purchase or use of the product, and would not be unduly burdensome to manufacturers. 42 USC § 6294(c)(5). The FTC has not exercised its authority under this provision to require corrective action on product labeling.
The FTC is now seeking public comment on its failure to amend instructions for covered products that are harmful to consumers; whether providing such information can assist consumers in their purchase or product use decisions; whether providing such information would be unduly burdensome to manufacturers; and other related issues. The Commission’s rulemaking in this area will affect many product manufacturers, who will have to revise product labeling or change product designs to make them work for consumers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the topic. Seek expert advice for your specific circumstances.
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