September 23, 2011, 1:53 PM

Target.com draws the ire of environmentalists over online appliance labels

Target says it’s adding legally required EnergyGuide information to TVs and appliances.

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Responding to complaints from an environmental law and advocacy group, Target Corp. says it is adding energy-consumption information to online product descriptions for TVs and appliances sold through Target.com.

Since 2007, e-retailers have been required to include the EnergyGuide labeling information on products such as window air conditioning units, water heaters and refrigerators. The product categories included in the Federal Trade Commission’s Appliance Labeling Rule were expanded in July to include TVs.

Earthjustice, the environmental group, recently said it found that Target.com was not providing EnergyGuide information to online consumers shopping for air conditioners, TVs and some other appliances.

A Target spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer that the retail chain is aware of Earthjustice’s concerns and that it is working to quickly address them. “Labeling information for a majority of the items identified by Earthjustice has already been incorporated into product descriptions on Target.com,” she says.

The Federal Trade Commission last year began levying fines against e-retailers that have not included EnergyGuide labeling information on products sold on their web sites. According to the FTC, e-retailers have paid $517,500 in civil penalties since the agency began issuing fines in 2010. Retailers that violate the rule face fines of $110 per violation per day, though the amount of fines a retailer collects can differ from the settlement amount.

In July, Internet Retailer checked the web sites of 14 e-retailers that sell TVs to see whether they displayed EnergyGuide labels on TVs. Half did. Target.com was not included in that evaluation.

Target is No. 22 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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