The Latest by Jonathan Wiener

Associate Attorney

Jon Wiener was an associate attorney in the Washington, D.C. office, focusing on energy efficiency issues.

September 22, 2011

Unplugged: Why Won’t Target Follow the Law?

Target has made headlines lately for its customer service debacle involving the launch of a designer line, but, unfortunately, the company’s woes with customers seem only to get worse. Today, Earthjustice filed a citizen complaint with the Federal Trade Commission because the company has withheld from its customers important energy information on appliances. Congress has …

July 22, 2011

Playing Hide-And-Seek With Energy Efficiency Information

Today, we begin with a quiz: Which of the following should online consumers have to do to be able to evaluate the operating costs of an appliance? Scroll to the very bottom of a long page of text, then visit other websites and do the same until they have enough data points to make their …

June 17, 2011

Unplugged: Should You Trust Energy Star?

The perils of relying on a trusted label

May 31, 2011

Unplugged: Why Your TV And Smartphone Suck (Energy)

Much of what our consumer electronics do is unnecessary.

May 24, 2011

Unplugged: Energy Guide vs. Energy Star

If you know the difference between the Energy Guide label and the Energy Star label, you are in better shape than many consumers, even many energy-conscious ones. (If you can explain why it makes sense to have three different federal agencies administer two separate labeling programs with names and purposes so similar that even retailers …

May 17, 2011

Unplugged: Reading the Fine Print on New TV labels

A law that took effect last week requires new televisions for sale in retail showrooms to carry yellow Energy Guide labels, allowing consumers to evaluate and compare how much energy different models use and how much they cost to operate each year. My colleague Liz Judge blogged about the impact of these labels previously. The …

May 9, 2011

Unplugged: Energy Labels Underestimate Appliance Costs

Your new appliance is more expensive to operate than you think. Since 2007, certain household appliances have carried revamped yellow Energy Guide labels that contain two key features. The first is the estimated annual costs of powering the appliance. The second is a linear scale that enables you to compare that figure with the costs …

April 12, 2011

Keeping Consumers In The Dark

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it will delay a requirement for manufacturers to provide more detailed information on light bulb packaging. The commission also carved out an exception for inefficient 75-watt incandescent bulbs, which are being phased out in 2013. The best thing one can say about the announcement is that it could …

February 4, 2011

California Supreme Court Stands Up For Consumer Rights

The California Supreme Court last week sided with consumers and their ability to rely on product labels, allowing a case to go forward against the makers of products falsely labeled “Made in the U.S.A.” Defense lawyers, supported by self-styled “tort reformers”, had sought to dismiss the case by arguing that consumers are not injured by …