Sharp Not Punished for ‘LED TV’ Marketing

Sharp has been cleared of Consumer Class Action A lawsuit in the USA, after a judge upheld a motion-to-dismiss ruling, made in September last year, in a case from 2014. The report comes from Law360.

In October 2014, Jason Popejay complained that Sharp’s marketing for its LCD TVs was misleading, as it described the sets as ‘LED TVs’. Popejay and his fellow consumers appear to be unclear as to the difference between LED and OLED, describing LED TV technology as “a fundamentally different technology that is still several years away from availability at prices accessible to mainstream purchasers”.

In the original complaints, the plaintiffs argued that Sharp’s marketing did not make it obvious that its TVs used LCD technology. In September, US district judge William Martini dismissed the case, saying that the allegations were based on Sharp’s marketing – when the boxes for the TVs clearly said that they were LCD products.

Since that point, the consumers have tried to correct their original complaint, focusing on Sharp’s marketing online or at the point of sale. However, they failed to specify what they viewed, as well as when and where they viewed it, and whether it was Sharp or another entity making the claims.

Based on the fact that the plaintiffs said that they had seen material online, without specifying a website, the court relied on Sharp’s own website. It said, “Similar to the TV cartons already deemed by this court not to be deceptive, Sharp’s website contained a clear disclosure in the ‘tech specs’ section of its webpage for each ‘LED TV’ model that Sharp’s LED TVs were, in fact, displayed on LCD panels.”

Based on this ruling, the case has again been dismissed.

Analyst Comment

The entire case ignores the fact that it was Samsung, not Sharp, which began marketing its LCD TVs as ‘LED’! We agree with the plaintiffs that the marketing could be misleading (I’ve been campaigning against the LED TV descriptor for years), but also with the court that the TV boxes are clearly labelled. (TA)