A California federal court recently entered judgment against Lights of America Inc. and its two owners for exaggerating the performance of the company’s Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs on packaging and in brochures. The court had previously entered detailed findings of fact, concluding that the defendants overstated the light output and life expectancy of their bulbs and made misleading comparisons to other light bulbs. Defendants initially claimed that the LED lamps had a 30,000-hour life and lasted “15 times longer than 2,000 hour incandescent bulbs,” then later revised the claim to state that the bulbs had a 12,000-hour life and lasted “6 times longer than 2,000 hour incandescent bulbs.” In reality, according to the court, the defendants’ testing showed that the bulbs lasted no more than “a few thousand hours.” The court’s recent order requires a payment of more than $21 million to the FTC, most of which will be available for refunds to consumers.

Tip: Claims about a product’s performance must be substantiated by adequate scientific testing on the product, and should not exaggerate the product’s performance in any way.