Earlier this year, the FTC settled five law enforcement actions against companies making allegedly deceptive energy savings claims for their replacement windows. Now the FTC has sent letters to 14 window manufacturers and one window glass manufacturer, warning that they may be making unsupported energy savings representations for their products.
According to the letters, FTC staff saw some statement on the companies’ websites that looked a lot like the ones challenged in the earlier cases. No, there hasn’t been a decision about whether the companies have violated the law, but the letters urge them to take another look at their claims with some basic principles in mind:
- Energy-savings claims must be backed by scientific evidence.
- Be specific about the type of savings consumers can expect.
- Avoid deception when making "up to" claims.
- Avoid deception when selecting home characteristics for modeling.
- Clearly and prominently disclose any assumptions.
- Exercise care in using testimonials or "case studies."
- Manufacturers may be liable for misleading or unsubstantiated claims made to dealers or retailers, in addition to claims made directly to consumers.
If you sell windows or make similar energy-savings promises, 5 lawsuits and 15 warning letters should emphasize the importance of taking "panes" to back up what you say with solid science.
Looking for more information about crafting ad claims related to energy or the environment? Bookmark the BCP Business Center's Environmental Marketing section.