WATCHDOGS WARN OF POTENTIAL HIDDEN COSTS TO SALES BARGAIN HUNTERS

( 6th January 1999 )

 

The January Sales are traditionally a time when many consumers seek to buy a bargain to replace ageing or broken electrical appliances, such as washing machines or fridges.

However a lack of information may hide the true running costs of those items.

Trading Standards officials representing over 5 million consumers in the North of England have warned consumers to take care in the run up to the January Sales.

In a survey conducted by the Northern Counties Chief Trading Standards Officers Group, the energy labelling information which should appear on a range of domestic electrical equipment was examined.

This equipment being washing machines, tumble dryers, combined washer-dryers, fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers.

The law requires that the energy consumption figures on applicable equipment are displayed enabling consumers to make an informed choice of the likely running costs prior to purchase.

The survey was carried out at retailers throughout Cumbria, Durham, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Lancashire.

A total of 76 premises were visited with 4544 appliances being inspected. 18% of appliances were found to either bear no information or only part of the information required.

A number of retailers reported problems in obtaining the information labels from their suppliers.

A spokesman for the group said, "As the purchasing public becomes more environmentally aware, it is only right that they are provided with the correct information to allow them to make an informed choice.

These type of domestic goods are expensive and less energy efficient models are likely to have hidden running costs. Where the information isn’t given, what may appear to be a bargain in the sales may prove to be more expensive to run in the long term".

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

All appliances displayed for sale should have an energy efficiency label attached to them on the outside front or top of the item. The label gives a scale of A-G where A is the most efficient and G is the least efficient. On the right hand side of the label there should be an arrow indicating the efficiency rating for that appliance. Appliances with an ‘A’ rating have the arrow at the top, pointing to ‘A’, and those with a ‘G’ rating have the arrow at the bottom, pointing to ‘G’. Consumers therefore can see at a glance how high this appliance is on the energy efficiency scale. If the appliance has been awarded the European Eco-label, then the Eco Label ‘flower’ can also be on this part of the label.

A further indication of energy consumption should also be given on the label. In the cases of fridges and freezers it is given in KWh/year (kilowatt hours per year) and in the case of washing machines and tumble dryers in KWh/cycle (kilowatt hours per cycle).

Results of the survey by appliance type are:-

LABELLING

APPLIANCE

NUMBER CHECKED

CORRECT LABEL

INCORRECT LABEL
(e.g. none or part)

% INCORRECT

Fridge

773

640

133

17

Freezer

644

499

145

23

Fridge/Freezer

1087

904

183

17

Washing Machine

1157

991

166

14

Tumble Drier

564

447

117

21

Washer Drier

319

257

62

19

TOTAL

4544

 

 

806

18