FTC Green Guide Action Leads to $350K Fine for Misrepresenting Insulation R-Value

Last week’s FTC-related action against an insulation marketer for misleading R-value and energy efficiency claims is proof that the agency has real teeth. Hopefully other insulation marketers will take the hint and upgrade their messaging to proper compliance standards.

Home insulation
According to the FTC’s “R-Value Rule,” any purveyor of home insulation must supply accurate product R-value information to its customers.

Just last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice prevailed in a court case against home insulation marketer Edward Sumpolec. Sumpolec had been doing business as Thermalkool, Thermalcool, and Energy Conservation Specialists, and was first cited by the FTC in 2009. Last week’s ruling by a federal court ordered him to pay a fine of $350,000.

Sumpolec had been making unqualified R-value and energy efficiency claims about liquid  coating and radiant barrier products, including such statements as “This . . . reflective coating will reduce wall and roof temperatures by 50-95 degrees . . .” and “Saves 40 to 60% on your energy bills.”

In addition, Sumpolec was cited for violating the FTC’s R-Value Rule, which states that insulation providers must have a reasonable basis for any r-value claims, must keep accurate records of those claims for three years, and must supply fact sheets about the R-value of their products to their customers.

This latest FTC-related action is proof that the agency has real teeth, and also that they don’t limit their scope only to manufacturers. Hopefully other insulation marketers will take the hint and upgrade their messaging to proper compliance standards.

View the FTC’s original press release here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/sumpolec.shtm

photo credit: pdz_house via photopin cc

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