Class Action Filed Against LG Over Energy Star Televisions

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On March 7, 2017, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in California federal court against LG Electronics USA Inc. The electronics giant is accused of purposefully misleading customers into purchasing LG televisions bearing an “Energy Star” label based on the assumption that they are energy efficient, when in fact the televisions use around two times more energy.

In the complaint, named plaintiff Vanessa Munoz claims that Defendant misleads customers by marketing their “Energy Star” label televisions as meeting the highest government standards for energy efficiency. Energy-efficient televisions are supposed to use 25% less energy than standard televisions. Munoz argues that consumers purchasing an Energy Star television expect to save money in the long run through reduced energy bills. However, Plaintiff claims that LG Energy Star televisions function similarly to standard televisions once the owner adjusts the televisions default settings, particularly the brightness and motion-detection dimming settings. The complaint further states that consumers are not warned of the altered energy consumption stemming from overriding the default settings prior to purchase. Munoz says that had she been warned she would not have purchased her 55-inch Energy Star certified television from LG.

Specifically, Munoz accuses LG of breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, violations of California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws, as well as breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of obligation of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent inducement, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and common law fraud. The proposed class would include anyone who purchased an LG television with an automatic brightness control and motion-detection dimming setting from 2011 to 2017.

LG is standing by its product in the face of criticism and has commented that the company’s Energy Star line is a proud participant of the Energy Star Program, which is jointly administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The company has further stated that it is working in cooperation with the government to address any concerns with any current energy saving modes.

 The case is: Munoz v. LG Electronics USA Inc., Case No.: 5:17-cv-01176, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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