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FTC - Complying with the Appliance Labeling Rule, A Guide for Retailers

10/1/2000

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FTC LogoThis information is provided under a cooperative agreement between the Better Business Bureau and the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has prepared this information.

Facts For Business
Complying with the Appliance Labeling Rule
A Guide for Retailers
Since 1980, manufacturers of certain appliances have been required to attach EnergyGuide labels to their appliances to give consumers important information about the energy use of the appliance. The labels must be hung on the inside of the appliance or secured to the outside. They are designed to help shoppers choose appliances that use less gas or electricity, cost less to operate and help protect the environment.

The Federal Trade Commission's Appliance Labeling Rule requires EnergyGuide labels on:

Refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers
Water heaters, furnaces, boilers
Central air conditioners, room air conditioners, heat pumps
Pool heaters
Showroom Dealers
If you sell any of these appliances in a showroom, you are not permitted to remove the labels, cover them up or otherwise make them illegible. If a label should become detached from an appliance on your showroom floor -- a more likely occurrence for hang tags than for labels adhered directly to the appliance -- it's a good idea to reattach it.

In the case of central home heating and cooling equipment, the EnergyGuide label provides a summary of the more detailed energy efficiency and usage information that manufacturers are required to provide with their products through a fact sheet or industry association directory. You are required to provide this information to your customers.

Direct Marketers
No matter how complete a catalog or website may be, neither one allows a potential purchaser to walk up to an appliance and read the EnergyGuide label. The Appliance Labeling Rule has special provisions that require direct marketers to provide the same energy usage information for consumers, whether they shop via catalog or the Internet or in a physical showroom.

Catalog and online dealers are required to provide:

the capacity of the particular model;
for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and water heaters, the estimated annual energy consumption of the model;
for air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers and pool heaters, the energy efficiency rating; and
the range of estimated annual energy consumption, or energy efficiency ratings, of comparable appliances.
This information is on the labels that the manufacturer attaches to the appliances. Manufacturers of furnaces, boilers, central air conditioners and heat pumps also have to give you the same information through fact sheets or an industry trade association directory.

If you sell appliances through a printed catalog, this information must appear on the same page as the description of the appliance.

If you sell appliances through a website, you may put this information next to the description of the appliance, or you may use a hyperlink to take the reader to another page that contains the required information. If you use a hyperlink, it should be:

Next to the description of the appliance so that the reader will see it. The link should be clear and conspicuous, that is, easy to see and notice.
Readily identified as a link. Use visual cues for the link: make it a different color than the surrounding text, underline it or incorporate a small graphic or icon. Using the same text style for all hyperlinks throughout your site will help the reader identify the link.
Meaningful. It should give the visitor a reason to click on it. For example, labeling the link "Energy Efficiency Information" is more likely to bring a consumer to the link than a label that says "Legally Required Disclosures." Consider using a label and a yellow-and-black EnergyGuide icon, which you can download from the FTC's website at www.ftc.gov/appliances.
A direct connection to the energy efficiency information. The link should go directly to the page providing the information, not to an intermediate page that requires the reader to click again. In addition, the reader should not have to scroll down the screen to find the applicable information.
The Benefits
The FTC's Appliance Labeling Rule offers a valuable service to consumers. It helps them make educated decisions about their appliances by enabling them to compare purchase prices along with long-term operating costs. It also helps consumers do their part to conserve limited natural resources.

For More Information
The Federal Trade Commission offers a wide range of publications for businesses online at www.ftc.gov and in print. Call the FTC's Consumer Response Center toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) (TDD: 1-866-653-4261) or write: Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580.

The Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network offers a clearinghouse of energy efficiency information at www.eren.doe.gov. This information also is available from DOE's toll-free hotline, 1-800-DOE-EREC (363-3732) (TDD: 1-800-273-2957) or from the U.S. Department of Energy B EREC, PO Box 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116.

Your state and local energy offices and local utility companies also may be good sources of information.�

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Your Opportunity to Comment
The National Small Business Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards collect comments from small businesses about federal compliance and enforcement activities. Each year, the Ombudsman evaluates the conduct of these activities and rates each agency's responsiveness to small businesses. Small businesses can comment to the Ombudsman without fear of reprisal. To comment, call toll-free 1-888-REGFAIR (1-888-734-3247) or go to www.sba.gov/ombudsman.

This information is provided under a cooperative agreement between the Better Business Bureau and the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has prepared this information. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid these practices. To learn more about the FTC and its services, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. 
 

 

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