LG Moves Counter-offensive Against Whirlpool At MRTPC

New Delhi: | Updated: Aug 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Close on the heels of Whirlpool and Godrejs case in the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRPTC) against LG regarding the capacity of its fridges, LG India has now filed a case against Whirlpool for gross unfair trade practices for the purpose of promoting the sale of its products, particularly refrigerators. It has also submitted that Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bangalore, whose test reports were used by Whirlpool to substantiate its case against LG for overclaiming the capacity of its fridges, is not recognised by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for testing of refrigerators.

A complaint filed by LG and a consumer Mr Santosh Kumar Singh, under Section 36 A, 36 B, and 36 D of the MRTP Act 1969, on August 19, said Whirlpool in its sales promotion material, falsely represented to the consumers that all the refrigerators manufactured by it conform to the BIS when such standards are not applicable to frost-free refrigerators. It has also submitted a letter from BIS which says none of the companies mentioned in your letter, ie Whirlpool, Godrej Appliances and Electrolux Kelvinator, hold certification marks license for either frost-free or direct cool refrigerators.

The petition also claims that the company has maliciously tried to impress upon consumers that refrigerators of LG are inferior ... and has made false and misleading statements in order to disparage the goods manufactured by LG for gaining an unfair advantage in the market.

When contacted, Whirlpool accused LG of trying to divert the issue. A spokesperson said, While there is no compulsion to follow BIS guidelines, everybody in the industry follows them except for LG. It said its product literature claimed that its products were as per BIS norms, adding BIS does not issue certification for refrigerators, but it has set down norms for voluntary adoption.

An earlier petition by Whirlpool and Godrej had accused LG of overclaiming the capacity of its refrigerators by up to 15 per cent which is far beyond the accepted industry norm of a three per cent variation. It had used a CPRI test report to substantiate its claim. LG had subsequently got a test conducted by IIT-Delhi to refute these claims.

In reply, LG, has submitted a letter from BIS with the MRTPC, that states that CPRI is not recognised by BIS for testing of refrigerators.

MRTPC has now clubbed all the related cases and fixed September 18 as the next date for hearing.