Dyson hits back at EU Court for ‘bad regulation’ after losing £150m legal bid for damages over bagless vacuum cleaners
Dyson says it will appeal a decision by an EU court after losing a legal battle for €176m (£150m) in damages over vacuum cleaner energy labelling regulations.
Although Dyson managed to overturn a Brussels regulation which allowed older vacuum models to appear energy efficient as more modern, bagless vacuum cleaners, the company’s claim for damages – from sales lost because of this regulation – was today rejected by the General Court of the EU.
Instead Dyson, and other bagless vacuum makers, have been ordered to pay the European Commissions’s legal costs.
“The court concludes that the Commission demonstrated conduct that could be expected from an administrative authority exercising ordinary care and diligence and, consequently, that the Commission did not manifestly and gravely disregard the limits on its discretion,” the court said.
The long-running case started in 2014 when EU directives, drawn up by the European Commission, about labels meant to show vacuum cleaners energy efficiency were announced.
Dyson bagless vacuum cleaners were, the company argued, more efficient than traditional ones. Sir James Dyson said older models used more power for the same level of suction because of their bags.
He accused the testing process of being a sham because vacuums were only sampled when they were empty or did not reflect everyday ‘real-life’ usage.
The regulations were annulled in 2018 after a five year legal battle involving an appeal through the European Court of Justice, and the contentious label was removed from vacuum cleaners.
Dyson submitted its claim for damages in March 2019, arguing that the regulations resulted in lost sales and higher costs for the company.
Dyson called the energy labelling rules “highly misleading to European shoppers” and said they overstated the energy efficiency of bagged vacuum cleaners.
“The Court has accepted the Commission’s tortuous and weaselly excuses to avoid accepting liability for its wrongdoing,” said a Dyson spokesperson.
Dyson went further and accused the Commission of “[walking] away scot-free despite having favored the European bagged-machine lobby, including the major German manufacturers”.