The ACCC on Power Savers like Go 4 Green and Earthwise

One of the questions raised by my earlier post on a certain power saver scam is "why doesn't the Office of Fair Trading or the ACCC do something about it?"

Well, it turns out they do, they just take a while to get their case together. I came across this ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) ruling on Matthew McDonald's blog.

Enersonic Power Saver ScamFederal Court declares consumers misled over Power Saver device

This ruling is about a plug-in device called the Enersonic Power Saver. It's the same concept (ie. type of scam) as the Go 4 Green unit, which is still being sold right now.

They had all the usual claims:

  • by using the Power Saver, domestic consumers could save up to 24% on their electrical power consumption
  • by using the Power Saver and saving on their electrical power consumption, domestic consumers would thereby save money, and
  • the Power Saver was designed and engineered in Australia

But, the reality was more like this:

  • the Power Saver was not capable of reducing the amount of electrical power consumed by domestic consumers as measured by retail electricity suppliers, and therefore domestic consumers could not save up to 24% on their electrical power consumption by using the Power Saver
  • use of the Power Saver could not lead to domestic consumers saving on their electrical power consumption as measured by retail electricity suppliers, and therefore domestic consumers could not save money by using the Power Saver, and
  • the Power Saver was not designed and engineered in Australia.

Quotation's from the ACCC website - Media Release - 18 October 2010.

A slap on the wrist, two years later

There are a number of concerning things about this ruling. It helps to explain why other scammers don't seem too worried about flogging their products. Most notably:

  1. The punishment is not much of a deterrent. The distributor of the product simply had to put a notice on their website, notify customers and pay a contribution to the ACCC.
  2. The product was sold back in 2008 and 2009 but it wasn't until late 2010 that a ruling was handed down.

I don't mean to be too negative, in fact I am quite happy to see that the ACCC eventually does get around to it.

Even Harvey Norman's in on it

If, like me, you think it's shameful that the likes of Sunrise, Today Tonight and ACA promote these scams, you're in for another surprise. I read in Silicon Chip that the Enersonic unit outlined above was sold through Harvey Norman stores.

Way to distribute your scam! Just get Gerry Harvey on board!

So, even if a 'reputable' retailer sells it, there are simply no guarantees. If you find an offer which seems too good to be true it pays to be cautious.

Either way, feel free to email me any offers or products which have you confused or sceptical... I'd be happy to take a look.

- Ryan McCarthy.

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