(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 9th Dec 2021) London, Uk – –
Case follows earlier legal victory over energy efficiency stickers on vacuum cleaners that firm said misled buyers
Dyson, the vacuum cleaner firm, has said it will appeal against a ruling by an EU court that it is not entitled to £150m in damages over flawed energy efficiency regulation.
Sir James Dyson, the company’s billionaire owner, is an outspoken critic of the EU and was one of the most prominent supporters of the campaign to leave the EU.
He had argued that mandatory EU tests had “illegally misled millions of consumers” and sought damages from the European Commission for lost sales and wasted time.
James Dyson controversially moved Dyson’s headquarters to Singapore in early 2019 in order, he claimed, to be closer to the growing Asian market. However, the EU remains an important market for the company and its products are designed in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
The court dispute is centred on the energy efficiency stickers ranking all vacuum cleaners sold in the EU from A to G. Following years of legal battles, Dyson successfully argued that the first version of the test, which required an empty bag or dust compartment, was flawed as it did not reflect real-world use. The regulation was annulled in 2018 after the intervention of the European court of justice, the EU’s highest court.
However, the EU’s lower general court on Wednesday ruled that the commission had not breached its duties to act fairly or discriminated unfairly against the makers of bagless manufacturers like Dyson. It said there was enough doubt over the efficacy of tests to justify the commission choosing to use an empty bag.
“By using the standardised empty receptacle testing method, the commission did not manifestly and gravely disregard the limits on its discretion or commit a sufficiently serious breach of the principles of equal treatment and sound administration,” the court said in a summary of the judgment published on Wednesday.
Dyson reacted with fury to the judgment, hitting out at rivals in Germany.
A Dyson spokesperson said: “The general court has chosen to turn back from the earlier decision of the European court of justice and seems unconcerned that the commission broke their own law and ignored Dyson’s evidence – they declare it is not obvious enough for them to justify damages.
“This is an insult to the millions of shoppers who were misled and totally ignores the substantial harm – running to £150m – caused to Dyson.
“Meanwhile the commission walks away scot-free despite having favoured the European bagged-machine lobby, including the major German manufacturers, throughout.”
Dyson has the right to appeal to the court of justice within the next two months and 10 days.
Reporting by Jasper Jolly