Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Awesome goodness: The Gratuitous Injustice of American Tipping Culture


Don't buy Whirlpool-made anything

With US makers having already made the Energy Star program as weak as can be (other nations require makers to keep upgrading efficiency year after year to meet the standards set by the best to maintain a special status such as Energy Star), now makers like Whirlpool want to avoid being called to account for misrepresentations anyway.

Whirlpool seeks ban on class-action suits tied to Energy Star program.

The New York Times (7/21, Wald, Subscription Publication, 9.79M) reports that Whirlpool, a leading manufacturer of home appliances, is lobbying Congress to ban consumer lawsuits that claim its "Energy Star" labeled products fail to deliver promised energy efficiency. The proposed bill comes after government testing "showed that scores of consumer products carrying the Energy Star label did not deserve the listing." The Times adds that Whirlpool "is threatening to withdraw from Energy Star, an Environmental Protection Agency program, unless it gets its way," but notes that and Energy Star distinction may boost a product's desirability, adding that "an E.P.A. survey found that the Energy Star logo was influential among 91 percent of consumers." The bill, introduced by Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH), whose district is "home to several Whirlpool factories," would "prohibit class-action lawsuits if the E.P.A. came up with a remedy, like reimbursing consumers, for products that did not live up to their billing." The Times reports that Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumers Union, the organization that publishes Consumer Reports, disagreed. "E.P.A. and D.O.E. can't be out there all the time," she said. "Consumers need that backstop of the courts to get redress." The Times also quoted a spokeswoman for the American Association for Justice, who said, "By eliminating consumers' access to the civil justice system, corporations will not be held accountable in court for swindling customers."