Epson has announced that it has been granted a default judgement in a lawsuit filed against AuKing, a top-selling Amazon projector brand, over misleading brightness claims. Epson reports it was awarded "more than $500,000" in damages in the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts in June of last year.
Epson cited an unspecified AuKing projector model that was advertised to deliver 9,500 lumens, but was found in third-party testing to put out less than 1% of that, or fewer than 95 lumens, in an industry-standard ISO21118 measurement. ISO21118 describes a nine-point averaged measurement across the entire image, though even a single-point measurement taken from the screen's brightest sector would not be much higher than the ISO21118 number.
Epson said the court found that AuKing competed unfairly "by using false, deceptive, or misleading statements of fact that misrepresent the nature, quality and characteristics of its projector products," and that AuKing was enjoined by the court from "any false or misleading advertising of its projector products and from selling projectors online, including, but not limited to, Amazon.com and Aukingdirect.com, until the false advertising is corrected."
AuKing's best-selling product on Amazon is a mini-projector that currently sells for $57.98. As of today, the unit was being promoted without any brightness claim in its written description, though a promotional graphic in its slide gallery still showed a "9500L" designation next to an icon obviously meant to represent brightness. The projector's display resolution was being cited as "Full HD 1080P," though the same promo graphic qualified this as "1080P Support" and online reviews of prior versions, including a YouTube review available from the projector's own Amazon page, clarified that the earlier model merely accepted 1080p signals and downscaled to display the signal at 480p resolution. The current product promotion also suggests it will project up to 200-inches diagonal, and will last up to 15 years/55,000 hours on its "bulb," which likely refers to an LED light source as is mostly found in these inexpensive, under-powered projectors.
As of the date of this post, the AuKing was the number 6 seller among projectors on Amazon. The top four models ranged in price from $99.99 to $69.99 with brightness declared as "9500L," "9500 Lumens," "8000 L," and "9,000 Lux," respectively. The fifth best seller, priced at $49.99, made no claim at all to its brightness.
As regular ProjectorCentral readers may know, Epson has been on what is now an extended, multi-year crusade to combat misleading brightness claims and force manufacturers to adhere to internationally recognized brightness measurements, notably the ISO21118 methodology that was derived from and essentially follows the earlier American ANSI standard. Manufacturers who have been forced to downgrade and revise brightness claims have most recently included Wemax, Anker, XGIMI, VAVA, and various off-brand Amazon sellers.
Epson's statement included this quote from Mike Isgrig, VP, consumer sales and marketing, Epson America: "Consumers count on companies to provide reliable and accurate product information and performance specs. As an ongoing issue, brands that are falsifying lumen claims are not only hurting the end-user experiences of consumers, but also the overall perception of projection viewing, damaging the industry as whole. The highly inaccurate lumen claims provided by AuKing is an example of gross negligence on the part of a brand and its commitment to truth in advertising."
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