Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vogelzang and Napoleon Stoves “meet or exceed” EPA requirements

The only difference? One is certified and the other is uncertified.

No wonder consumers are confused. Vogelzang stoves are often advertised by saying they “meet or exceed EPA requirements.” So do Napoleon stoves. Yet the companies mean entirely different things. For Vogelzang, it means the stove is exempt or uncertified, i.e. it does not meet EPA emission standards. For Napoleon, it means more what it says: that it meets or exceeds EPA emission standards and is certified.

The Alliance for Green Heat has been in conversation with US Stove Company, who now owns Vogelzang, for several months, urging them to change this misleading language. The Alliance believes manufacturers have to make sure that their advertising helps consumers understand what it means to be exempt, not confuse them.

In response, Paul Williams, National Sales Manager for US Stove Company provided this statement: “We are looking into this issue further. I can assure you we will look at all our marketing strategies and will put our best forward for the industry, our company and the customer."

The Vogelzang website also does not inform their customers that their exempt stoves cannot be shipped to Washington and Oregon states or to most of California. US Stove Company, the parent company of Vogelzang, does better. For their exempt stoves, the website simply states “EPA Exempt” and says that the stove cannot be shipped to Washington and California. While they omit Oregon, the information they provide to consumers is clearly better.

The Alliance is also urging the EPA to provide guidance on how exempt stoves can or should be described.

The Alliance for Green Heat began reporting on this issue in May of this year, with the story “Misleading Advertising in the Wood Stove Industry." Since then, the issue has not improved, but now the responsibility rests almost entirely with the Tennessee based US Wood Stove Company, having recently acquired Vogelzang. US Stove Company also owns Breckwell and distributes the Chilean Bosca stove line.

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