Greenlite USA: “You actually expect us to *honor* our warranty?”

By | November 12, 2007

Greenlite USA sells rather inexpensive compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. In the Boston area, you can find them at Aborn Hardware on Harvard Street in Brookline.

Each Greenlite CFL bulb comes in a box which says “9-YEAR WARRANTY**” in big letters on all four sides. Your first sign of trouble comes when you follow the two little asterisks to the fine print on the back of the box, which reads, “This bulb is unconditionally warranted for 2 years from date of purchase. This 10,000 hour bulb is unconditionally warranted to last 2 years. If bulb does not last 2 years, please return it with proof of purchase, register receipt, your name and address to…” Apparently, their 9-year warranty is actually a 2-year warranty. I once sent them email asking for an explanation of this discrepancy, which some might even call false advertising, and they never responded.

More recently, I purchased a Greenlite CFL bulb on March 27, which failed within a few months. I emailed Greenlite on August 20 asking how to get the bulb replaced under warranty. The same day, an employee of Greenlite responded to my email with an email message containing no body and a subject line of “ADDRESS?” I responded the same day by sending my address.

Almost a month later, on September 19, I hadn’t heard anything further by email, nor had I received a replacement bulb, so I wrote again and politely asked when I should expect to hear more.

On October 11, when I still hadn’t received any response or a replacement bulb, I sent a message which read as follows:

I would sure hate to have to go to the trouble of filing consumer protection complaints with the Attorney Generals of California and Massachusetts and the Better Business Bureau, posting messages all over the Internet telling people that your CFL bulbs fail and you don’t honor your warranty, and attempting to convince the store from which I bought this bulb that they should stop selling merchandise from a dishonest company, but that’s what I’ll have to do if you can’t be bothered to send me a replacement or answer my inquiries about when you will be doing so.

Given the amount of time I’ve now wasted trying to get this bulb replaced, at this point you ought to consider sending me more than one bulb to compensate me for the trouble.

The same day, I received a response from a different person at Greenlite, once again asking for my mail address, and once again, I responded the same day.

On October 16, I received a box from Greenlite containing a four-pack of Greenlite CFL bulbs. Alas, the bulbs they sent were their 23W bulbs, which we don’t have any need for, rather than the 13W variety, which is the kind that failed in the first place.

On October 18, I wrote to them again as follows:

This would be funny if it weren’t so aggravating.

I received two days ago the four bulbs you sent in response to my warranty request. Unfortunately, as I clearly indicated in the first email I sent your company almost two months ago about my failed bulb (see attached), the bulb which failed is a 13W bulb, not a 23W bulb. I have no use for a box of 23W bulbs — all of the fixtures in my house in which I use CFL bulbs are designed for 60W incandescent bulbs, so the 23W CFL generates too much light.

Would it be possible to get a replacement for the build [sic] that actually failed, as opposed to bulbs for which I have no use?

If you want me to send the 23W bulbs back to you, then please send me a prepaid shipping label for them.

Thank you,

  Jonathan Kamens

A week or so later, wonder of wonders, I actually received a box containing a four-pack of the correct bulbs.

I don’t think that Greenlite is trying to avoid honoring their warranty, although the 2-year vs. 9-year thing is certainly a bit dicey. I think that people ask them to honor their warranty so infrequently that they simply don’t have a clue how to do it, and they haven’t bothered to set up a process to make it happen reliably.

What makes this somewhat ironic is this excerpt from their mission statement as posted on their Web site [It was posted on their Web site, but has been removed – ed.]: “Believe in having long term business relationships with our customers by ensuring the best personalized service, competitive and quality products and on-time delivery.” I think they’ve got a ways to go on that one.

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30 thoughts on “Greenlite USA: “You actually expect us to *honor* our warranty?”

  1. Dave

    Back in 04 I bought a 2 pack of Greenlite 15 watt cfl light bulbs. Suppose to last like 8 years. One popped after about 5 years. I wasn’t in the room. As far as I can tell a resistor inside burned up. No signs on the outside of any serious fire. The other cfl bulb still works. Leave it on, turn it on and off a lot it just won’t die. But after reading some stories about Greenlite cfl light bulbs I am wondering if I should just retire it anyways in case it is one that might start a fire or something.

    Reply
  2. Matanki

    If someone has complaint against this company, why don’t they submit complain to :

    Better Business Bureau of the Southland
    315 North La Cadena Drive
    Colton, CA 92324

    Reply
  3. Matanki

    This is contact person for GreenLite USA, in California:

    “Carla Mallory”

    Reply
  4. Dan O.

    I have one that just melted and burned too! I must have received it free from the local electric utility. They sound like they are a danger of causing a serious fire.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      had the same problem someone needs to do something about this

      Reply
  5. W.T. JUNG

    I BOUGHT A FEW OF THEIR NIGHT LIGHT BULBS AS GIFTS BUT MINE NOW HAVE DIMMED A LOT AND THE ONES I GAVE AS GIFTS PROBABLY DONE THE SAME.

    I WENT BACK TO THE HARDWARE STORE WHERE I BOUGHT THEM AND WAS TOLD THAT THEY NO LONGER STOCK THESE NIGHT LIGHS BY GREENLITE

    CALIFORNIA “P G & E ” CALIFORNIA.THANK YOU FOR

    GREENLITE DIRECTIONAL LED NITELITE 2 BULBS PER BOX.
    100,000HRS GUARANTEE

    Reply
  6. Ray

    I have some of the greenlite bulbs in my house… several actually and I have had three really fail and almost catch fire over the last three years. I emailed greenlite and talked to Tom there sales Mgr. very helpful abd promptly sent replacement bulbs …. but he keeps sending me crap I didnt ask for like christmas lights and outdoor fixtures …… really all I want is for them to find out why these fail so badly to the extent they catch fire and scare my family….They shouldnt sell a product that could be this potentially dangerous

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      You really ought to file a report with the Consumer Products Safety Commission if bulbs have burned in your house. It’s only a matter of time before one of them catches fire and burns down somebody’s house.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Not fair…. “almost” caught fire? CFL’s will smoke a little when bulb fails but that is normal. “Catch fire”?

        Reply
  7. Daniel J Ryan

    I just bought your plt18w/27K lite not even five hours of use and it stop working , im really saden to find this web site with so many bad story’s .The really sad part of this, I bought two light fixures now I see alot of problems.could you send me some replacement bulbs . so that I can rewright this story

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      Daniel, this blog has nothing to do with Greenlite, and I highly doubt that they read it on a regular basis. If you want a response from Greenlite, you need to contact them directly.

      Reply
  8. cary mcdonald

    Our living room suddenly developed an acrid-burnt smell, and after unplugging several items, the source was found to be a failed Greenlite 18W(18W/ELS-M)self-ballasted lamp. It had served well for approx. 16 months. I have the box it came in, and there is no lot number/ date code information on the box, packaging or the lamp. There is brown/black melted plastic surrounding the glass neon tube (where the tube enters the plastic body), and the glass of the tube is cracked in a complete circular fashion about 1cm from the burnt plastic juncture. There had been no undo moisture,stress, movement (dropping) of this lamp prior to the occurrence.
    My concerns are probable Hg (Mercury) release, and the associated issues with having to track down the source of an ‘electrical fire’ smell that this event caused.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      This is exactly what I am talking about. wife said the bulb is out in the laundry and there was a fireball inside the glass at the plastic part on mine Plastic was all chared. As a 15 year experienced electrician I have seen them burn up fixture wires on ceiling lights to melted wire nuts. CFL’s CAUSE NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS. Not worth my family’s safety. Just use regular 130v light bulbs, cheaper and last ten times longer.

      Reply
      1. Jim

        I was watching TV and the lamp was flickering, figured the CFL was going out. Shortly after the bulb went dark, a few minutes later smelt something burning, looked at the Greenlight CFL and saw it was the culprit. The base burned around the two flourecent tube coming out of the base, pretty scary. This particular lamp I have come on every night, I am glad I was home to turn the lamp off. This bulb worked for a very long time, but when it goes out it is dangerous. Time to go to LED bulbs.

        Reply
  9. lori clanton

    Hey consumers!!!, I have to say that, I have found the same problems and also, not a website, such as : powersatisfacton.com/lights. So, as it states, “Tell us about your purchase and receive a free gift”, from Southern California Edison, I have told you. I’m NOT SATISIFIED!!!!!!!!! So, I guess, like all other gov.issues, it’s iou or ha!ha! on us consumers>not this time. I WILL CONTACT Southern California Edison, reguarding this matter of public relations of good business tactics. Maybe the Better Business Bureau will have more pull to acquire an answer for us to believe???? lc Bellflower, Ca

    Reply
  10. J.B.

    I bought a 2-pack of Greenlite USA Directional LED Nitelites from a local ACE Hardware store. It bore a sticker stating that it was discounted via PG&E’s Residential Lighting Program. My local utility endorses this product, so it must be good, right? Think again. I just applied to Greenlite USA for warranty replacement. Both of them failed in about three years of use. That’s a 100% failure rate. LEDs are normally supposed to function for about 100,000 hours, or 11 years. These units didn’t even get close, considering they’re equipped with a photocell, so they only light about 10 hours per day. At that rate, they should have lasted over 25 years.

    My recommendation: Don’t buy Chinese-made electrical products and be very suspicious of other Chinese-made Greenlite USA lighting products, especially if they’re endorsed by your local public utility.

    Reply
  11. Tim

    I had one CFL burn up and almost caught fire. Lasted all of three years with one hour per week usage. Lets see thats only 150 hours of usage

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      Was it a Greenlite bulb or another brand?

      None of our Greenlite bulbs have lasted the guaranteed amount of time. We just had another one burn out prematurely last week, and when I unscrewed it from the fixture I found a big burn mark on the side of its socket. Not good! It seems that not only did this company sell bulbs that don’t less nearly as long as promised, they sold bulbs that could catch fire!

      Reply
  12. Bryce

    So I found the warranty form on their website. Submitting it results in the error “sending: Language string failed to load: connect_host”. So that’s a great way to reduce warranty claims: make it so much hassle to claim the warranty that you give up.

    Reply
    1. Tony Daniello

      My experience was similar, they make the warranty process so difficult as to be impossible. After 3 contact attempts still no resolution. Do not buy from this company as they are as reliable as their faulty bulbs.

      Reply
  13. Bryce

    Yep, I’m here because an acrid burning smell, of a “green” greenlite failing. There are little burnt plastic bits raining on my head every few minutes. These cheap made-in-china lights are hardly “green” if they keep failing like this.

    Reply
  14. jik Post author

    Another GreenLite CFL bulb in our house died prematurely today, years before the end of the supposed 9-year warranty.

    Reply
  15. Mel

    Today was my luck day GE sent me a coupon for $10.00 to replace failed bulbs…….I guess that a complaint to GE via email works…..I”ll see how my greenlight bulbs work.Good luck everyone with your replacements……Mewl

    Reply
  16. Mel

    I just bought 2 boxes of greenlight bulbs at half price? Southern Calif Edison say go to www.powersatisfaction.com/light for free gift I cant find web sight…..After reading this blog I know why greenlight bulbs are so cheep.Good luck everyone.

    Reply
  17. Mel

    I don’t feel so bad….I sent a complaint to GE about their energy smart 100 light buld, it took 2 weeks for a answer and still no replacement..GE said I’ll be contacted by postal mail!…lol I hope, still wating for reply.I will let this site know the results.01/06/09

    Reply
  18. Sandra

    I received a replacement 3-way 9-year guarantee light for the one that lasted only a few months. The new one was placed in a lamp on June 17, 2008 and is now worthless. I searched the internet today for a way to contact Greenlite both in Canada and Irvine, California and could not get through to either website.

    I guess they have gone out of business and they should since their 9 year guarantee bulbs do not last, period. I will never purchase another Greenlite bulb. They are probably just defective as much of everything manufactured in China is, not good, worthless, and often hazadous to one’s health.

    I should mention the first time a bulb was worthless I did receive the replacement bulb but it took so long I forgot that it had been promised.

    Reply
  19. kevin roche

    Heh,
    You got more service in light out of the bulbs than they did. They were probably miffed at your audacity to complain instead of being grateful for having some light and saving electricity while you were getting it! Nowhere did they state that they they were warranting that the bulb would give light, only that it would last. Hang on to it for 9 years in a cupboard. It will still be there. I’m afraid you read into that guaranty.

    Moreover, you were given a hint in the very look of the bulb: it’s full of curves –not straight like a stick. And, it is hollow in the middle. Boy did you miss the clues!

    Actually the bulbs are pretty good overall. I sell them. However, be careful choosing your sock colours under them or ties, if you wear them.

    Blind people have no compalints at all about thier quality of light. In fact one said he could read his brail better under it.

    Kevin Roche

    Reply

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