Worms and Flowers

BUSTED! Lawnmower Mfgs Sued for Overstating Horsepower

Posted in News by Lzyjo on December 25, 2008

Sears and Roebuck, (Craftsman,) Electrolux, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki, Husquvarna, John Deere, MTD, Toro, and others, have all been named in a class action lawsuit filed by several South Dakota residents. The suit alleges these corporations have been overstating the horsepower their lawnmower engines since 1994. They have gone so far as to make several amendments to Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) labeling requirements to better defraud the public. SAE requirements now allow a 15% differentiation from actual and advertised values. Normally, horsepower in the automotive world is expressed as “net” horsepower, the actual horsepower achievable under normal conditions, but the lawnmower companies are using a “gross” horsepower convention, which means they use the best number they can obtain under ideal laboratory conditions. They also use torque measurements on product labeling, which is a meaningless number that does not rate performance. The people who filed the suit purchased mowers ranging from $130 to over $4,600, naturally the people who purchase the more expensive movers thought they were getting a more powerful product, like the label said, but this was not the case. A mover that was advertised as containing a 7 horsepower engine, only tested at 3.75, a more than 80% inflation. Many of the companies advertise their mowers as “the mot powerful,” some boasting close to 30 horsepower. Part of the deceit was revealed when EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board), documents showed a disparity between actually reported horsepower and the advertised horsepower. Some of the more expensive models actually contained the exact same engine as the cheaper model, although this was not indicated on the labeling. I remember lawnmowers being about 3 HP, which seemed like a lot at the time, if you think of three horses chomping at the bit. 24 HP does seem a bit excessive, not only excessive, but impossible.
Be careful what you buy and remember, more expensive does not always mean better quality.

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One Response

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  1. jgh said, on April 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Good to know someone is actually following up to check- Keep em on their toes!! I wonder the same thing about vaccuum cleaners sometimes when they advertize the amps – are we really buying more suction or just a louder machine?!

    I hate feel dumb, but that’s how those companies make money by tricking the consumers. It’s just not fair and I have no idea what to think about amps on vacuum cleaners and hair dryers too! Thanks for stopping by Jen!


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