In 2010, a congressional panel found that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star rating, which provides consumer guidance on which appliances and electronics offer efficient power usage, had standards that were laughably easy to meet. Auditors posing as fake companies were able to obtain Energy Star approval for appliances as ridiculously wasteful as a gas-powered alarm clock, in an effort to prove that the bar was not nearly high enough at the EPA.
The audit caused the EPA to reevaluate its rating process, and retroactively revoked the Energy Star seal from many large home appliances. Consumers, who had used the Energy Star rating as a barometer for their investment, were miffed that their new dryers/washing machines/gas-powered alarm clocks were sold under false energy consumption pretenses. Predictably, a flurry of class action lawsuits followed.