With summer heat comes an increase in energy cost as many run their air conditions, fans, pool filters and other devices to find relief from the heat. Businesses know many are looking for ways to beat the heat and take this time of year to advertise claims of efficiency of their product or service and ways they can save you money on your energy bills. While many claims are honest and accurate, Better Business Bureau of Central New England wants consumers to do their diligence and make sure the claims are accurate before making a purchase.
Advertised terms such as “save up to”, “more than”, “at least”, and the like could potentially be deceptive or misleading when used with energy savings claims. Energy savings claims can be broad and vague, so it is important to understand if the savings applies to all consumers, how the statistic was determined and if the claims can apply to your situation and bring you savings. BBB recommends that advertisers use a range when advertising savings or efficiency claims to give consumers a better understanding of what to expect. Advertisers should also be able to substantiate any claim they make with supporting documentation. “It can be easy to be enticed by an advertising claim. Many consumers take it at face value and automatically assume the savings or results will apply to them,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “Be sure to shop around, ask questions and fully understand how the claimed results are reached. This will save you confusion or frustration in the long run.”
Better Business Bureau’s Code of Advertising, a manual to guide advertising standards, states that claims regarding energy savings should be based on recent and competent scientific, engineering or other objective data. Businesses should have proof that energy savings claims are true before they advertise them. Government regulatory agencies also pay close attention to these types of claims, too. The Federal Trade Commission can fine businesses that do not substantiate their energy savings claims.
If you see advertised savings claims that seem too good to be true, such as, “save u p to 90% on your electricity bill,” contact your local BBB. BBB can reach out to the business to request substantiation of the advertised claims.
Most businesses adhere to the BBB Code of Advertising and cooperate with BBB when asked for documenting substantiation. If claims aren’t substantiated or the business won’t change or stop the advertised claims, the informed can be reported on the company’s BBB Business Review.
BBB advises consumers to be cautious, do research and use these tips to evaluate energy savings claims: