Online shops failing to show proper energy labels

A surprising number of online retailers aren’t properly displaying energy labels about goods such as TVs and fridges. Research released today found nearly two thirds of products (62%) in the […]

By Vicky Ellis

A surprising number of online retailers aren’t properly displaying energy labels about goods such as TVs and fridges.

Research released today found nearly two thirds of products (62%) in the online stores and retailers checked across the EU had information missing about energy consumption and performance on the energy label.

Just 38% of products online such as washing machines were correctly labelled.

In the UK that figure is even worse: 90% of products checked had energy information missing or displayed in the wrong format.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey visited a John Lewis store last year to see their new energy labelling scheme. Image: ELN
Energy Secretary Ed Davey visited a John Lewis store last year to see their new energy labelling scheme. Image: ELN

The absence is all the clearer compared with traditional shops and retailers, with more than three quarters (77%) of products across Europe being correctly labelled.

Shops checked in the UK had even higher figures, with 80% of products correctly labelled.

The findings are the result of 225 shop visits (114 traditional shops and retailers and 111 online stores and retailers) on 68,000 different energy-using products. In the UK more than 700 products were assessed across eight online sellers.

UK retailer John Lewis labels washing machines with clear energy use information in a scheme begun in 2013. Image: ELN
Retailer John Lewis labels products with clear energy use information in a 2013 scheme. Image: ELN

Tom Lock, Product Certification Manager at the Energy Saving Trust which ran the Marketwatch survey for the EU said: “It’s encouraging that nearly all retailers are now displaying some form of information about the energy performance of products.

“However, the biggest problem is missing information on the label or information in the wrong format which means consumers are either confused or not fully-informed before they make a purchasing decision.”

From 1 January 2015 a new Energy Labelling Regulation kicks in from the EU designed to make sure all new products on the market hold the actual energy label online.