When Congress mandated last year that all consumers (and businesses) begin replacing their traditional light bulbs with new energy saving bulbs, primarily manufactured by Feit Electric and General Electric, most jumped at the chance. After all — albeit for more money — you could purchase bulbs that lasted purportedly ten times longer than traditional bulbs and save as much as $5.40 a bulb each year in electricity. What consumers weren’t told was that most of these new energy saving bulbs do not work and are defective.
For example, as the New York Times reported, one of sixteen bulbs purchased at Costco did not work at all and three others died within hours. And these are bulbs which are supposed to last a minimum of 10,000 hours. Consumers are posting complaints on the internet by the thousands, all discussing how newly purchased bulbs don’t work out of the box, die within hours (or a day or two), or die within a month. And the bulbs aren’t cheap; they cost, on average, twice as much as a traditional bulb. With 330 million bulbs sold in the past year, consumers are out tens of millions of dollars.
Experts interviewed by the Times assert that the quality of the bulbs is poor and that the manufacturers’ poor packaging instructions are compounding the problem. Moreover, disposal of the defective bulbs is fast becoming a problem for consumers: The new bulbs contain high levels of mercury, a toxic metal harmful to adults and children alike, and can not be easily handled or disposed of.
Even Alan Feit, vice-president of Feit Electric, acknowledged quality control problems with his bulbs. Indeed, Victor Roberts — an independent expert who conducted failure analysis testing compact fluorescent bulbs — suspects that the manufacturers are using substandard components, many of them from China. “Somebody decides to save a little money somewhere,” he said, “and suddenly we have hundreds of thousands of failures.” Or as Michael Siminovitch, director of a lighting center at the University of California, Davis has put it: “In pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer.”
If you have purchased defective energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs manufactured by Feit Electric and/or General Electric, please contact us to discuss your legal options.