CBP Seizes $95K in Counterfeit Energy Star Air Conditioners in Norfolk

Norfolk, VA, 4 July 2024 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a shipment of 305 window air conditioners valued at $95,000 in Norfolk, VA, for bearing counterfeit Energy Star certification marks. The air conditioners, originating from China and destined for Arcadia, California, were seized on June 27, 2024, after officers discovered the fraudulent labels.

CBP officers initially examined the shipment on May 21, 2024, and noted that the product packaging included the Energy Star logo, a certification mark owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The logo is only authorized for products meeting strict energy-efficiency standards. Unable to find the models listed among certified energy-efficient products, CBP detained the shipment for further review.

After consulting with the EPA, CBP’s trade experts confirmed on June 21 that the air conditioners were unauthorized to bear the Energy Star marks, deeming them counterfeit. Consequently, the air conditioners were subject to seizure and forfeiture.

The Energy Star trademark is a trusted indicator of energy efficiency. Misusing it can mislead consumers, leading to increased energy costs and potential safety hazards such as refrigerant leaks, electrical issues, or fires.

Mark Laria, CBP’s Area Port Director for Norfolk-Newport News, emphasized the importance of purchasing authentic goods from reputable vendors to avoid substandard counterfeit products. He highlighted the broader implications of counterfeit goods, which include lost revenues for trademark holders, tax revenue losses, funding for transnational criminal organizations, and risks to consumer health and safety.

CBP’s aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program aims to protect businesses and consumers. In fiscal year 2022, CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized nearly 21,000 shipments containing approximately 25 million counterfeit goods, with a total estimated MSRP of over $2.98 billion.

For more information on enforcement details and to report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s IPR webpage, the e-Allegations portal, or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. Additional resources are available on CBP’s Truth Behind Counterfeits website and StopFakes.gov.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists at the nation’s Ports of Entry lead the border security mission, screening international travelers and cargo to protect the American public, businesses, and the nation’s safety and economic vitality.–PR by Steve Sapp