January 26, 2018 • By Dennis Beaver
“Mr. Beaver, for the longest time we wanted to replace all 50 of our light bulbs with LEDs but the retail price of around $12 each was a deal breaker. We have used the little coiled CFLs, which do save energy but are annoying as it takes two minutes or so to reach full brightness.
“Another reason we wanted an all LED home was due to our age. Climbing up a ladder to change a lightbulb is not a good idea for anyone over 80, and we are that and some. As LEDs claim a life of 15,000 hours, we calculated never having to replace a bulb again and reduce our energy expense for lighting by well over half.
“Then, a few months ago while at Costco, I couldn’t believe my eyes, finding 60 and 100-watt equivalent led bulbs for about $4 each, manufactured by Feit Electric, stating 15,000 hours of life on the box and Costco’s website. They came in Soft White, Daylight and Bright White, just what we needed, and so into the trash went lightbulbs and CFLs, never to be seen again. What a mistake that was!
“Right out of the box, several of these Feit LEDs were dead. Many began to flicker and then die. Right now the three in our bedroom ceiling fixture are still working, but I am getting scared. We should never have throw away all the CFLs or lightbulbs!
Is my situation unique? Do you think I have a problem with the electricity in our house? Have you ever heard of anything similar? Thanks, Benny and Geraldine, Visalia, California.
Illuminating research on failing Feit Leds
Our readers’ disappointment with these Feit LEDs isn’t unique. And they do not have to be concerned about a problem with their homes electrical wiring. Over the past several months, we have heard from a number of readers with similar experiences, and there is even a website dedicated to failing Costco Feit led-bulbs.
So upset with his “Lasts 22.8 years but failed after 4 months,” Utah electrician Jeff Weissman has a hysterical online video. We spoke with him, finding someone who believes in the benefits of LED lighting, “If you get a good product,” he was quick to point out.
“If the package claims the LED will last for thousands of hours, what would cause not only Feit’s but anyone’s LED bulbs to fail so soon as yours did?” he asked.
“It’s not the LED which fails,” he replied. “It is important to understand that LED lighting generates a great deal of heat and the support electronics – which are known as drivers – are extremely heat sensitive. If this heat is not dissipated, the electronics will fail. This is why some led bulbs state on the package they are not to be used in an enclosed fixture.”
But the readers who contacted You and the Law reported installing their Feit led bulbs purchased from Costco in regular, non-enclosed fixtures, some lasting only days. Their comments were consistent with strikingly negative reviews on Costco’s own website. While there are many positive comments on both the Costco and Amazon sites, those which are negative merit serious consideration in our opinion.
What does Costco say about this?
We emailed Costco’s Corporate Communications department, asking to discuss these very issues. We also left a voice mail for their lighting department buyer. And their response? “Good Morning Dennis, unfortunately, we are not able to respond to your inquiry at this time. Please do not attribute my name to the information in this e-mail.”
What does Feit Electric say?
Feit Electric is no Costco. The owner, Aaron Feit, immediately responded to our email, clearly stating his position on the questions raised concerning the apparent high failure rate of his LED products as seen in many reviews:
“No Feit Electric light bulbs being sold at Costco or any other retailer are experiencing a ‘high failure rate.’ Given that, in a year, we sell over one million light bulbs of a model, the total number of alleged failures you point to is most certainly not a “high failure rate.”
“I am surprised that you have not found anecdotal complaints about other companies LED products, but I do not know how thorough or extensive your search was. We are aware of other LED companies experiencing negative reviews but we choose to not criticize our competitors.”
Should you buy Feit LED lighting?
Given the inexpensive cost of Feit LEDs compared to the competition, they are probably still a good choice even if some do fail prematurely, as Feit has a 5-year warranty which they honor, promptly.
Would we buy them? Yes, we already have.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.