Washington, DC - The Department of Energy announced today that it has entered into a Consent Decree with Haier America resolving an investigation into whether Haier violated DOE's energy efficiency standards. DOE's investigation led Haier to determine that a parts defect caused certain freezers to consume more energy than represented to consumers and possibly violated DOE's energy efficiency standards and the ENERGY STAR® requirements for freezers. As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to enforcing energy efficiency, this Consent Decree obligates Haier to notify affected consumers, repair defective units, and pay a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury.
During the investigation by DOE's Office of General Counsel, Haier voluntarily identified a parts defect that had caused the freezer models to consume additional energy and took immediate steps on its own to remedy the defects. Haier's cooperation with the Department of Energy's investigation was critical in reaching the Consent Decree, the first ever entered into by the Department of Energy to enforce minimum energy efficiency standards.
"Enhanced energy efficiency is a national priority, and DOE will continue to vigorously enforce energy efficiency standards and ENERGY STAR® criteria," said DOE General Counsel Scott Blake Harris. "Haier's voluntary disclosures and voluntary remediation measures helped to reach this Consent Decree, which requires swift action to protect both consumers and the environment from the consequences of wasteful energy use. We would encourage all manufacturers to follow this example in the future."
Prior to the Consent Decree, Haier took actions on their own to stop the distribution of any of the affected freezer models. Standalone upright freezers sold between December 2008 and August 2009 are covered by the Consent Decree, although not all of the units will necessarily be affected by the parts defect. The following freezer models are covered: HUF138EA (ENERGY STAR®), HUF138PB, HUF168EA (ENERGY STAR®), and HUF168PB.
Under today's legal agreement, Haier will expand its efforts to inform consumers about potential defects in previously distributed freezers, will correct any identified defects at their expense, and will make a voluntary payment to the U.S. Treasury. The Consent Decree announced today provides an immediate mechanism for protecting consumers and the environment from inefficient appliances.
Among other obligations, Haier has agreed to:
- Attempt to obtain information from retailers or other parties who may have contact information for affected customers;
- Individually notify affected customers with their offer to repair the affected unit;
- Conduct on-site unit repairs at no cost to consumers;
- Extend the warranty on all affected units; and
- Voluntarily contribute $150,000 to the U.S. Treasury.
Read the full Consent Decree.