Cree Inc. Sued Over False Claims on LED Light Bulbs

Cree Inc., a supplier of LED lighting, has received a class action lawsuit over allegedly making false claims about their products. The plaintiff, Jeff Young, accuses the company of lying to customers by exaggerating the cost savings potential and durability of their LED light bulbs. The suit was filed on October 27 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco.

The light bulbs in question were the Cree Inc. Standard A-type, Reflector (flood/spotlight), and Speciality. According to the lawsuit, the advertisement for the bulbs claimed they would last up to 35,000 hours, or 15-32 years. The marketing material encouraged customers to pay a premium price for the longer lasting lightbulbs and promised that customers would save money in the long run.

“…[T]he packages all contain an estimated lifetime use and energy saving, indicating that the products will save consumers money in the long term despite their high purchase point,” the lawsuit states. “These representations signal to the customer that the useful life of the product will be at least 10 years or more.”

According to the lawsuit, Cree Inc. website claims the lights are “designed to last more than 22 years (25,000) hours).’

Young claims he purchased three Cree Inc. LED 100 Watt replacement light bulbs in April 2015 for $15 to $20 each. Despite the advertisement promising a bulb that will last for years, all three burned out within months. The savings promises made by Cree were based on the presumption that the bulbs will use small amounts of energy and last much longer than incandescent bulbs, reducing the overall energy bill and the cost of replacing them. Since Young’s lights needed to be replaced after a few months, he was unable to receive the savings that were promised to him at the time of purchaser.

The lawsuit claims Cree Inc. knowingly mislead customers about the potential savings by failing to disclose relevant information about the longevity of their product. It states that many customers have made similar complaints online. Young asserts that he and other Cree Inc. consumers were collectively “cheated out of millions of dollars based on false promises.”

Cree Inc. is accused of violating California business, advertising, and consumer protection laws, committing fraud, and breaching warranty pursuant to California Unfair Competition Law and other statutes.

Jeff Young is represented by Charles J. LaDuca and Alexandra C. Warren of Cunero Gilbert & LaDuca LLP, Melissa S. Weiner and Amy E. Boyle of Halunen Law, and Charles E. Schaffer of Levin Sedran & Berman. In conjunction with the plaintiff class, he is seeking actual, general, special, incidental, punitive, statutory, injunctive, and consequential damages; pre- and post-judgement interest; attorneys’ fees; costs; and other relief deemed proper by the court.

This lawsuit is Young v. Cree Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-06252, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

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