Commission Proposes New Light Bulb Labels, Seeks Public Comments; Commission Dismisses Individual Defendant from Case Against "Making Home Affordable" Imposters

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Commission Proposes New Light Bulb Labels, Seeks Public Comments

The FTC has proposed new labeling requirements for “lamps,” commonly known as light bulbs, in response to a congressional mandate. The marketplace has been changing quickly with the emergence of newer, more energy-efficient technologies – such as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and light-emitting diode (LED) products – as traditional incandescent bulbs are phased out. The proposed labels provide consumers with clear, easily understandable information to help them choose among different bulb types.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced today seeks comment on new labels that emphasize lumens, not watts, as the measure of bulb brightness. This information, along with estimated energy cost information, would appear on the front of the light bulb package. The back of the package would display a “Lighting Facts” label modeled after the “Nutrition Facts” label for food packages. The Lighting Facts label would provide information about brightness, energy cost, the bulb’s expected life, color temperature (for example, whether the bulb provides “warm” or “cool” light), as well as wattage. The label also would require disclosures for bulbs containing mercury. The bulb’s output in lumens – and a mercury disclosure for bulbs that contain mercury – would also have to be placed on the bulb itself.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the Commission to consider the effectiveness of current bulb labeling requirements and explore alternative labeling approaches. As the first step, the Commission issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last year seeking comments on existing labeling requirements and possible labeling alternatives, and then held a public roundtable to gather more information.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the notice of proposed rulemaking was 4-0. It can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release, and describes how consumers can submit comments, which must be received by December 28, 2009. (FTC File No. P084206; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889; see press release at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/07/lightbulb.shtm.)

Commission Dismisses Individual Defendant from Case Against “Making Home Affordable” Imposters

The FTC has voted to dismiss defendant Neil Sperry from FTC v. Cantkier, a law enforcement action against several defendants marketing homeowner relief programs. The Commission alleges the defendants misrepresented that they are affiliated with free federal government programs, such as Making Home Affordable, in marketing mortgage modification or foreclosure relief programs for a fee to consumers. After the FTC filed its complaint earlier this year, a federal court issued an order stopping the defendants from making deceptive claims pending trial. Commission staff later learned that Sperry had no part in the alleged deceptive practices, and that his identity was used by unnamed persons as part of the scheme. The FTC therefore recommended that Sperry be dismissed from the case.

The Commission vote approving Sperry’s dismissal was 4-0. (FTC File No. X090049; the staff contact is Lawrence Hodapp, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3105; see press release dated April 6, 2009, at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/04/loanfraud.shtm.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 49.2009.wpd)

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