German vacuum cleaner firm set to sue Dyson over energy-test claims

A German vacuum cleaner maker is threatening to sue Dyson over allegations that it manipulated energy-efficiency tests.

BSH Hausgeräte, which makes household appliances under the Bosch and Siemens brands, said it was taking steps to sue Dyson in the UK over what it said were false allegations made by billionaire founder Sir James Dyson. It did not specify what form the legal action would take.

Dyson, best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, said its lawyers were not aware of any legal claim by BSH. The threatened action is the latest skirmish between the companies over energy consumption, which has led to Dyson claiming that Bosch and Siemens had misled consumers in “behaviour akin to the Volkswagen scandal”.

Sir James claimed last week that BSH cleaners had been built with electronics that allowed them to draw more power in home use than they did in laboratory tests. BSH said all its vacuum cleaners were tested in accordance with the EU energy label and ecodesign directive for vacuum cleaners and met the standards in full.

Dyson claimed that independent testing had shown that machines made by Bosch and Siemens could draw more than 1,600W of power when used in the home, despite having a rating of 750W.

The UK company has sued BSH in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium on the basis that it misleads consumers. BSH said it showed a year ago that Dyson had advertised incorrect values on energy labels for its appliances.

BSH said Dyson’s claims were unfounded and untrue and that its vacuum cleaners were fitted with sensors designed to maintain suction as the bag filled up. It said this loss of suction was “one of the main challenges” for bagged cleaners and that it fitted the sensors in 2013 before the EU energy label was introduced in September last year.

The legal spat between two of the biggest names in home appliances has added bite because German industry is in shock after Volkswagen admitted using defeat devices to rig emissions tests for its cars. BSH said Dyson’s claims risked linking it to the scandal at Volkswagen.

The BSH chief executive, Karsten Ottenberg, said: “We have long been aware that James Dyson has a history of taking a very aggressive approach against his competitors and has a desire to be in the public eye. With his completely unfounded accusations of cheating in the past week he has now overstepped the mark.”

BSH said its bagged and bagless cleaners performed better than Dyson’s in German tests and that its machines also did better in tests by Which? in the UK. The Munich-based company said its cleaners were independently tested as well as being assessed at its research and development centre.

Powered by article was written by Sean Farrell, for The Guardian on Wednesday 28th October 2015 19.48 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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