Misleading lumen information
The ruling of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court in the matter of XAL versus Planlicht regarding misleading catalogue information is a major step towards greater transparency in the lighting industry. The judgment is final.
Lighting planners need exact information regarding lumen output and system capacity so that they can make sound decisions when selecting lighting solutions. Especially when using high-quality LED luminaires, light planners expect to be able to rely on the information provided by the manufacturer. But in fact, this information is not provided transparently in the print and online catalogues of some manufacturers. In many cases, the lumen output refers to the LED or circuit board itself, and is therefore substantially higher than the actual luminous flux of the luminaire. But this value is not relevant for planners because it does not represent the visible light output of the luminaire itself. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the correct power consumption is also not always taken into account, but the power consumption without electronic ballasts. These levels are lower than the actual power consumption. This distorts the efficiency level, which is indicated in lumens/watts.
Such misleading information in catalogues poses serious risks for customers. They may be faced with lux levels that are too low, circuit breakers with insufficient capacity, and assumed efficiency levels that are not true.
To minimize such risks for customers and to prevent lights from being selected on the basis of incorrect information, the leading manufacturer XAL decided to take legal action against the company Planlicht based on a particularly clear case of misleading catalogue information. In its own catalogues, XAL provides a high level of transparency and wants customers to be able to fairly compare offerings across the industry and to be able to accurately plan their lighting systems.
In January 2016, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court ruled in favour of XAL and noted the following points that XAL feels are particularly salient:
- The advertising of LED luminaries with lumen values that refer to the LED itself and not to the luminaire is not permitted – especially when it is not clear to the customer what the value is actually referring to.
- A general reference in the descriptive text “Lumen information = circuit board output” is not sufficient for this.
- When advertising LED luminaire, a power consumption that is lower than the actual power consumption of the lamp may not be indicated.
- Only luminaires that actually have a UGR value (Unified Glare Rating) of less than 19 may be advertised as such. If other luminaires in the same family do not meet this criterion, they may not be advertised as such.
“We are confident that this ruling will set an important precedent and will contribute to a greater level of transparency in the entire lighting industry. As a manufacturer of high-quality lighting solutions, we see it as our duty to provide our customers with absolutely accurate information as a basis for their planning,” emphasized Harald Dirnberger, Managing Director of XAL GmbH.