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Only one quarter of goods sold online have correct energy labels

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 April 2016 at 10:20 am

A recent study found that just one quarter of products sold and bought online in the UK had correct energy labels. One in five were not labelled at all. Therefore, despite a consumer’s best efforts, they may not be getting the deal they expect.

Energy performance ratings are important indicators to consumers of the energy efficiency of goods. How much energy an appliance requires has an impact on the household usage of energy, and therefore the size of bills at the end of the month.

Under EU law, appliances are given an energy rating on a scale of G to A with G being the least efficient. As efficiencies have improved the A end of the spectrum has now been divided into A, A+, A++ or A+++. The most energy efficient products to date have the A+++ rating. By paying attention to energy labels, consumers can make savings on their electricity use.

You may have thought that online retail would be easier to monitor than traditional shops, but this study by MarketWatch has found the opposite to be true. Most electrical goods sold online were either incorrectly labelled or not labelled at all, whereas over half of those bought in high street shops were correctly labelled. Out of the sample used, the study found that:

  • Only a quarter of white goods sold online were labelled with the correct energy rating
  • 20% of online goods had no label
  • 1% had the wrong label
  • 35% were displayed in outdated or inaccessible forms.

It is important to note that the study used samples from product categories known to be a cause for concern. So the data found is not representative of the online market as a whole. However, it does reveal some worrying statistics at a time when online commerce is expanding each year and is only set to grow. Therefore it is imperative that consumers are able to find and trust information about products before buying online. 

Regulation and enforcement of the law needs to improve, but in the meantime the best thing you can do is to research products as much as possible before purchasing anything online and consider going to a physical shop or at least sticking to reliable brands to get more certainty the labelling is correct.

Source: The Guardian

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