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Defective Energy Saving Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Not Saving The Planet Or Consumers Any Money

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.

  • Josie Cambria-Kiely

    I have purchased numerous GE energy saving fluorescent bulbs for my home. Many of them have burned out in less time than a regular incandecent bulb. I noticed that these GE energy saving bulbs were manufactured in China. My thought was that this is a conspiracy against the American people. GE states that you can return the defective bulb for a refund but who would keep the packaging and proof of purchase reciept for a light bulb? Please advise.

  • Dominick Musto

    I just e-mailed FEIT Electric concerning the premature failure of now the 2nd 18W CF bulb .
    I purchased the package from Costco and got less than 50 hours of use from each one.
    Is ther a government agency that can look into these defective proucts.

  • http://classactionblog.mdpcelaw.com/2009/03/articles/product-defect/defective-energy-saving-compact-fluorescent-bulbs-not-saving-the-planet-or-consumers-any-money/#comments David Krause

    I bought a multi-pack of the 23-Watt Feit Electric compact fluorescent bulbs, and all of them burned out in less than a week. These were very expensive compared to an incandescent bulb, and had a much shorter life. How can I get reimbursed? Congress should be told about this problem, since they are mandating that we cannot purchase incandescent bulbs any longer.

  • Les

    After four of eight 15W BPESL15A A-shape bulbs burned out prematurely, I contacted Feit Electric at info@feit.com, but no one bothered to respond. Unfortunately, most flourescent bulbs sold now at home improvement stores are made by this lousy Chinese outfit. My action plan is to share my experience with all people I know and boycott the product. I beleive this company should be subjected to a class action suit. At least the layers’ fees stay in the USA.

  • Donald Richards

    Same issue as the rest, about 90 days of use, and we are only really using them four hours a day. Then Fizzle, and they stop working.

  • Cmyrose

    I’ve bought Bright Effects cf light bulbs and within 3 to 9 months three out of the four bulbs burned out. I still have the bulbs. I’m trying to find a way to get them replaced.