By James Wells

CANBERRA: The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that up to $3.1 million will be available in rebates for consumers who bought five LG air conditioners that did not comply with the energy efficiency values claimed on rating labels.

In a statement issued by ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel, LG sold more than 15,000 mislabelled air conditioners.

"LG will also implement new testing procedures to ensure that the energy efficiency of its air conditioners matches the performance indicated by their stated energy efficiency star rating and, where applicable meet, ‘minimum energy performance standards’," Samuel said.

LG has given court enforceable undertakings to the ACCC after it raised concerns about the accuracy of energy claims on the five models.

The ACCC investigation followed a complaint by the Australian Greenhouse Office. Check tests conducted on behalf of the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability in New South Wales, and Energy Safe Victoria, found that:

a) the actual cooling output of a number of models of air conditioners sold by LG between particular dates was less than 90 per cent of the rated output

b) the energy consumption of some of the affected models was more than the rated power consumption, and

c) the energy efficiency ratings of the affected models were lower than that claimed by LG, and that of one model was lower than that required by the relevant Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

"As a result, it is likely that the five air conditioner models use more electricity and, accordingly, cost more to run than would be the case if those air conditioners complied with the values stated on the relevant energy labels," the statement said.

The ACCC and LG have agreed an estimate of the potential difference in operating costs that may be experienced in respect of each of the five models. LG will compensate purchasers of affected models for the potential increase in operating costs as set out below.

Consumers who purchased these models between the dates listed below and who relied on representations made by LG in relation to the cooling capacity, power consumption or efficiency of that air conditioner should contact LG on 1800 506 154.

Consumers will need to provide LG with their contact details, together with proof of purchase or other evidence reasonably establishing their ownership of an affected model within the next six months.