Should the Industry Push Back Against the FTC?
This week, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association is in Washington, D.C., with members making the industry's priorities known to legislators and regulators. The hot topics continue to be the Environmental Protection Agency's lead paint rules and tax credits for energy efficient products.
In contrast, the recent FTC action against five window companies has been greeted fairly quietly. Perhaps, that's correct. We know there are window sellers out there that stretch the truth, and there needs to be limits. On the other hand, many of the advertising and marketing questioned by the FTC don't seem too far off from what the Department of Energy has said at times in the past. DOE, in fact, has touted the payback potential of triple-glazing and R-5 windows more aggressively than many window and door executives.
So I can't help but ask. Should we push back against the FTC? That's our poll question of the week. Of course, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the issue too. Did the FTC go too far? Should the industry be able to talk more about energy savings? Will our hands be tied as we try to sell high performance products? Or, is the agency right? Are there many companies out there that need to be reined in? Post a comment or email me and let me know what you think.
Survey Results as of 03/12/2012:
Should the industry push back against the FTC?
Opinion is clearly mixed on this issue. Our survey responses were fairly evenly divided, as were our comments below.
My own opinion is a bit mixed on the subject too. I certainly don't like the idea of misleading homeowners with promises of huge energy savings that can't be delivered, but I'm also concerned about where the bar could be set on what we're allowed to say.
We all know consumers want to know more than an NFRC U-value or an SHGC. They want to know why it's worthwhile to invest in replacement windows or why an Energy Star door is better than a non-Energy Star model. "How much will these windows save on my energy bills?" is likely to be one of the first questions a homeowner is going to ask a window salesman.
The FTC action means we all have to be a lot more careful in our answers. Maybe that's a good thing, but I also wonder if it will overcomplicate matters. Too many caveats can discourage buyers. We will see.