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Counterfeit Energy Star Air Conditioners Seized in Norfolk



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A shipment of air conditioners from China, valued at $95,000, was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Area Port of Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia, for bearing counterfeit Energy Star certification marks.

On June 27, 2024, CBP officers confiscated 305 window air conditioners destined for Arcadia, California, after discovering they falsely displayed the Energy Star logo. The Energy Star certification, owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signifies compliance with strict energy-efficiency standards. However, these air conditioners were not listed in the EPA’s database of certified products.

Initial inspections occurred on May 21, when officers found the packaging suspicious and flagged it for further investigation. Documentation and photos were sent to CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE). After consulting with the EPA, the CBP confirmed on June 21 that the Energy Star marks were counterfeit.

Mark Laria, CBP’s Area Port Director, emphasized the risks posed by such counterfeit goods. “Unscrupulous manufacturers and vendors illegally profit at the expense and safety of American consumers. We urge consumers to buy authentic goods from reputable vendors to protect their health and wallets.”

Counterfeit goods not only mislead consumers but also potentially pose safety hazards such as refrigerant leaks, electrical issues, or fire risks. Moreover, the trade in counterfeit items diverts revenue from legitimate trademark holders, reduces tax income, and can fund criminal activities. The CBP’s aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program aims to combat these threats. In fiscal year 2022, CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized nearly 21,000 shipments of counterfeit goods, with an estimated market value of over $2.98 billion.

For more information on counterfeit goods and enforcement, visit CBP’s IPR webpage and Truth Behind Counterfeits website. To report suspected counterfeits, use CBP’s e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Stay updated with the CBP’s activities by following the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram @cbpfieldops.

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