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Beware - LED bulb reliability

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I have purchased many led bulbs and have had mixed reliabilty.

The good news - some are very reliable.  I have five LED bulbs outside that have run dusk to dawn for two years with no problems.

The bad news - some bulbs are VERY unreliable.  VERY high failure rates.

I purchased 12 LED bulbs (8.5W product 47856) from and 7 have failed.  To make matters worse they are refusing to replace them now.

Beware of This company is selling products that they know are defective. No support for failed LED bulbs. These bulbs are very expensive ($20 - $105) and in some cases last only two or three weeks. They refuse to replace defective bulbs. is selling known defective products and has bad customer service.

post #2 of 48
I too have had several problems with, mainly involving the accuracy of their specifications, and of course Customer Service when I try to get a remedy for those problems.

One such go-round with them is documetned in this thread:

There has been one since then that did not go as well for me (I am stuck with the LED lamp that wasn't even close to their stated specifications, due to their refusal to take it back with no cost to me).  I have an online "chat" conversation with their "Customer Service" that I saved from that, I might as well include it here:

Support: How may I assist you?
Robert Couch: I placed an order a couple of weeks ago and received it last week, and I have problems/questions about two of the LED lamps in that order.
Robert Couch: First, 45703 (Motion-activated LED Light Bulb)
Support: What was the question on that product?
Robert Couch: It has several individual LED emitters. When the bulb is off, two of them remain lit. When the bulb is on, all but two come on (and not the same two that are on when the bulb is off). Is it supposed to work this way and if so why? I would ex\
pect all the emitters to be off when the bulb is off, and all of them to be on when the bulb is on.
Robert Couch: ???
Support: sorry my computer is being a bit slow
Robert Couch: Did I get a defective bulb or do they all work that way?
Support: i would say its defective and would send back for replacement
Robert Couch: Okay and maybe you could check the one you send back so we don't do this more than once.
Support: I can issue a RA to this email with instructions on how to send it back
Robert Couch: You'll send me a prepaid shipping label for this return?
Support: can i have aN ORDER NUMBER?
Robert Couch: The Order Number is 20410 by the way.
Robert Couch: Befoer that gets finalized we should talk about my second issue.
Robert Couch: *Before*
Support: which is?
Robert Couch: Same Order#, Product ID 83428, "5 Watt LED Light"
Robert Couch: Your specifications claim 5 watts consumed, 450 lumens output
Robert Couch: I measured it with my Watt's Up power meter (5% accurate up to 5 watts, 3% accurate over 5 watts) and it comes in at nearly 9 watts (8.8 watts)
Robert Couch: Not even close to 5 watts.
Robert Couch: That reduces the luminous efficacy from 90 lumens/watt to 51 lumens/watt
Robert Couch: I make decisions to buy these bulbs based on those specifications. If they are not as advertised then I have made a wrong decision, through no fault of my own.
Robert Couch: How about I return this one too, in exchange for a second one of the Motion-activated one (45703). They are the same price.
Support: the motion activated can be sent back for replacement but for the 5watt bulb it can be sent back for credit and then you can order a second motion activated bulb
Robert Couch: I don't feel I should have to pay for return shipping for either of these problems.
Robert Couch: The 5-watt bulb was not as advertised.
Support: in our policy we do state a time frame of 5 days from when it was received
Robert Couch: I didn't know if it was defective or not (the motion-activated bulb) until I talked to you.
Support: in our policy we do state a time frame of 5 days from when it was received
Support: i have to follow policy sir.
Robert Couch: So you're going to stick me with the return postage despite these problems not being my fault? This is a great way to motivate someone to post a review of these bulbs pointing out the problems they experienced, both at your own website (which you could delete) and at other websites where I review LED lamps from time to time (which you could not delete). It's bad enough that I have to now make the time to package these up and make a trip to the post office, but to then have to pay $5-$10 in the process? I'll just keep these bulbs and be sure to order the rest of my LED lamps from somewhere else.
Robert Couch: This seems like a new policy since I did not go through this with another return a few months ago. How often do you expect people to check your policies for new restrictions on returns?
Robert Couch: And selling a bulb that consumes 8.8 watts that you advertise as consuming 5 watts is flat out wrong. That's not a "defective" situation at all.
Support: The entire website has been changed
Support: no the only one consired defective is the motion activated led light not the 5watt
Robert Couch: So what is the policy for the 5-watt bulb then?
Support: it can be returned for credit that will be placed back on your card
Robert Couch: And who pays for the return shipping?
Robert Couch: This is not just "I didn't like the bulb". This is "you said it consumed 5 watts and it consumes 8.8".
Support: to have it returned to ledlight the customer pays for the shipping unless its a incorrect product and contact us within the first 3-5 days
Robert Couch: Sticking the customer for return shipping on a product that doesn't even come close to meeting the claimed specifications is no way to do business.
Support: its in our policy
Robert Couch: Those are new policies with which I was not familiar or I would have done this sooner (last week). Does one week really make a difference to you? Is it worth losing a customer over? I've spent thousands of dollars at your wesbsite. If I need to find somwhere else to buy my LEDs I will.
Robert Couch: It's not a "wrong product" issue either.
Robert Couch: It's the right product, the specifications are wrong.
Robert Couch: You don't have a policy for that. I suggest you make one up that's fair to the customer.
Robert Couch: But if saving $5-$10 shipping when the fault is clearly on your side is worth losing all my future business over then go for it.
Support: I have to follow policy
Robert Couch: So be it. This transcript will be posted at the various forums I participate in that discuss LED lamps. And expect a review on your website of both of these bulbs with the problems I've encountered. Also expect no further business from me or
 anyone else that asks me for advice about where to purchase LED lamps. Be sure to let you supervisor know that you "followed policy" so closely that you drove customers away. That ought to get you a gold star.
Support: Im sorry to hear that sir
Support: did you have any further questions?
Support: Have a nice day.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to completely avoid buying LED lamps from them since they have a few I haven't been able to find elsewhere.  That's the only reason I have not filed a RIPOFFREPORT on them describing this situation.  Also, and this is really telling, I reviewed that supposed 5-watt LED lamp, reporting my findings regarding the specifications, and also describing the Customer Service problem I encountered, maybe I layed it on a little too thick but in any event, my review never made it to the public.  Seems only the good reviews get past their moderators.
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
     Wow.  It seems that is working from a script now.  Your experience with their "customer support" is not just similiar, but exactly like mine.  Three phone calls and two emails, all exactly like your experience with's online support.  "Not policy", "not policy", "not policy".  I've also asked repeatedly to speak to the owner, given the runaround, no call back.  I've asked on the phone and by email to pleave remove my review from their website, it's still up.  They admit that the product has known problems, but they are still selling them.
     Up until recently I had received good support for failed products.  The bulb they are giving me trouble with is the 8.5 watt product code 47856.  I purchased 12 of these and 7 have failed.  They replaced the first 4 failures promptly (I did have to pay $7 return shipping for each one).  Now I've got 3 more failed bulbs they refuse to support (they will probably all fail before the end of the year).  The last one to fail was a replacement for a failed replacement of an original purchase in June.  It only lasted 3 weeks.   
     I already filed a complaint on  Also with the Arizona BBB, the FTC and numerous consumer complaint websites.  I'm retired and have lots of free time.  Gotta love the web. 
post #4 of 48
 thanks you for the posts, I've learned a lot.
post #5 of 48
 I sure lucked out!  I bought several packs of LED bulbs several years ago.  I have had 2 bulbs go out.  I am so glad that I did not get the customer-service-run-around!  Thanks for posting!
post #6 of 48
Have had similar reliability experience with the 5 watt (#83428) corn-cobb styled bulbs from LEDLight. I had around 20 of them around the house and some started failing after 6 months. So far 6 of 20 have failed.  The LEDLight warranty period for this and the similar 8-1/2 watt bulbs is 3 months.  LEDLights web site lists most of their other lights with a 1 year warranty.  I do love the looks and brightness of these bulbs... shame they don't last.

I noticed AtlantaLighting carries a similar styled bulb made by Watt-Man LED described as a 60-led signal beacon lamp.  They're kind of pricey for the white and there are no wattage or lumen specs mentioned but Watt-Man does indicate a 5 year warranty.  Has anyone here tried these?

post #7 of 48
I must echo this warning with the LLC,  I bought 2 bulbs, one that was defective out of the box, which they say they are replacing, but I had to cover that shipping cost.

The second bulb - a G9 to replace an incandescent, failed in about 2 weeks.  They took it back, again at my own shipping expense, but then called me a week later to say they would not credit my account since I didn't have the original packaging.  I did not read the restrictive store policy ahead of time, but I said I would forgo packaging if they wanted to replace the thing and keep the packaging from the replacement.

They refused to work with me, and wouldn't even send back the broken bulb unless I paid the shipping!  Not reading the policy is my own fault, but it's kind of a strange policy, and they should perhaps write on the package "don't discard" or something.  There was nothing special about the package, either.

I will not purchase anything from them in the future.  I am going to file a complaint with the Phoenix BBB.  And, I'll continue to relay my story in forums whenever I can. 
post #8 of 48
Thread Starter 
UPDATE - More failures from

Five more LED bulbs have failed. 
11 out of 12 failed #47856      failure rate 92%
1 out of 3 failed #83428      failure rate 33%

They still refuse to exchange failed bulbs.  They are still selling products they know are defective.  Same lack of customer support from  Same refusal to remove my positive review from their website. 
post #9 of 48
Only 2 going bad is pretty good... ignorance is bliss!
post #10 of 48

Oh, it seems the LEDlight really do something bad.
Then we should care more about Customer service, find someone can give us reliable and friendly service. Not just excuse to avoid any replacement or refund.
Anyone has expirence of buy lights directly from CHINA? As in my mind, most of the lights come from CHINA in a cheap price but sell in a high one local.
I have a friend who works in CHINA  told me that the same stuffs sold in a quite cheaper price there.

post #11 of 48

Uh oh; 2 more went out. Darn things are  as undependable as those imitation iPhones I hear about.

Merry Christmas

post #12 of 48

       (PS- A LOL COMMENT ABOVE)  Just kidding- bulbs are fine: hard to be series...............

post #13 of 48

Did USA still have such bad companies?Terrible!

post #14 of 48

This thread should not be able the unreliability of LED bulbs, as much as it is the unreliability of the RETAILER. 


I have bought Lights of America LED for 4 years now, and none of them have ever burned out. Every generation gets better and brighter, and my 4 year old 'cluster' LEDs still provide spot illumination in the areas where they can be most effective. 

post #15 of 48

People should keep in mind that some LED companies in the U.S. get their LED lights from China.


Also, just because something is made in the U.S. doesn't always mean it's good. True, China is tends to have a low of low quality stuff but that doesn't mean China can't produce high quality things as well.

post #16 of 48

I must concur with BMet about the title of this thread discussion. Unfortunately, there are low grade LED lights on the market that are manufactured badly or that don’t carry and actionable or fair returns policy. These products have given the industry a bit of a bad start since LED lights are an emerging technology - and one that will eventually take over completely. At Light Savers, we sport a return rate of less than 0.2% across all our LED lighting range.


BobKart - I'm sorry to hear that you lucked out with a bad apple there. Generally a good way to find a decent supplier is to first find out if anyone has said anything bad about them before you consider buying. A quick search on the internet usually does the trick. Also check their CE and RoHS certificates, while also looking at their methodologies of production and quality control. Do they test their lights before they go out? Do they import their products from China and simply resell? Check out this blog post – Choosing the right LED Lighting Supplier – for a solid approach to selecting the right LED lights from the right supplier in future. 

post #17 of 48

Sorry to hear that you've had difficulty buying LED's.  My company, sells LED bulbs and tubes at a great price.  Please check us out, and feel free to use the discount code, GRNOPTNS for $5 off your total order until Februrary 28th, 2011.  If you have any issues with reliability, we want to hear about it.  Within 60 days of your order, we'll happily replace or refund any LED bulb or tube from your purchase.  


We're real people just trying to sell a good product!



Christina from Savings LED

post #18 of 48
post #19 of 48

Try LEDs at  This is a small company in Silicon Valley but their partner/investor is a very big company making OEM LED lamps for GE, Home Depot, Carrfoure, and Japan's Iris Ohyama.  Their products are solid and the customer service has been great. 

post #20 of 48

Thanks for the information jazz568.


I see that their LED lamps are all 2700K (warm white) in color temperature.  Do you know if they'll be offering any cool white LED lamps in the future?  Say around 5000K?

post #21 of 48

Hi BobKart, 

Not to my knowledge.  Usually 5000k is for commercial use (office, warehouse, stores, etc.) and their product lineup is basically home oriented. They do have some MR16s that are neutral white but those are only available on Amazon.  I personally do not find any use for 4-5000K LEDs except maybe in the garage. 

post #22 of 48

i have to agree with jazz on tuwago's customer service and bulb quality. i bought over 30 of their candelabra LED bulbs and they are great. these guys emailed and called me to make sure the delivery was made because apparently the tracking number showed the delivery guy left a notice while i wasn't home. the call was sincere, professional, and yet NOT sounding like a customer service rep with a script. 


i just got their A19, Globe, and R25 reflector bulbs a couple days ago and ill tell you, this is definitely a company i'll be getting more LEDs from. the build-quality is excellent, very solid, not cheap looking either, design is unlike any other on these sites you guys mention, uses Cree LEDs, definitely 2700K as it is very much warm white perfect for my home, professionally packaged. i am surprised they are not on the shelves next to sylvania, philips, and the like. prices are super reasonable too. here are the links to all of what i had purchased. - best candelabra LED i've bought. tried philips, utilitech and other crap online but this one is brightest and best value, dimmable too - really bright for a a19, a bit heavy as the heat sink is solid cast aluminum. but it probably serves its purpose, downward light is surprisingly good, using it a couple bedside lamp shades. probably going to put some outside on porch fixtures and leave it on 24hrs for security. - seriously this is one of the most beautiful LED bulbs i've ever seen. it doesnt look like an LED, small heat sink, full glass bulb, warm white light, and it says it is rated for damp environments (called to double check and the guys said they designed it especially for bathrooms - the vanity mirror lights.) exactly where im going to use it. - slim profile, pretty light actually for also being solid cast aluminum. light is warm white, verrrry bright and disperses like a flood light should, WIDE and no glare!, using a few in recessed ceiling and some in a track light fixture. 


impressive company, products, and customer service. 


post #23 of 48

It's sad to see people have experience.  I'm also a seller of LED lighting - I think it's mission critical to have a clear understanding of the warranty and how it is fulfilled.   When shopping for LED lights, my suggestion is to learn about the tradeoffs of the different specifications of what you are buying.  For example, the different LED chips, efficiency of the bulb, CRI, price, lumens - all of these can vary and it's important to understand what you are buying and that you are purchasing what is important to you.  Even the application - if you're not a lighting guru, it's best to pick up the telephone and speak with someone that can suggest a solution that is suitable for you.  For example, there are LED lights that work great in downlight applications - however, would do nothing but illuminate the ceiling in a table lamp =)  On the other hand, if it's a recessed fixture - it makes no sense to install a globe or an a-type bulb that will illuminate the sides of the recessed can - unless you are looking for a decorative lens on the bulb and are using a bulb extender (or make an adjustment inside the can) to more useable light is dispersed into the room.





post #24 of 48

From what I understand, LED's still aren't as efficient as CFL's  (candella per watt).  Is that still the case?  

post #25 of 48

Hi NoGreenThumb,


That may have been the case many years ago - partially due to the color of LEDs prior their use for illumination, combined with the electronics used to drive/power the circuit.  This has changed dramatically over the years.  LED lighting is approximately twice as efficient versus CFL.  


A good chart to look at on the internet is:


Another general rule of thumb to remember is that LED bulbs with higher color temperatures (if you look at a color temperature chart it spans from reddish to white to blue) often output more lumens than the same bulb with a lower (red) color temperature.  So, If you're looking to maximize the lumens - you're best to find a bulb at about 6000k (which is a brighter/cold white) versus 2,700k (which is a warm white)...




Originally Posted by NoGreenThumb View Post

From what I understand, LED's still aren't as efficient as CFL's  (candella per watt).  Is that still the case?  


post #26 of 48

That's a pretty cool chart, but the notes say, "Actual efficacies measured in application are generally between 40—60. This is rapidly improving"   If the efficiency is really between 40-60 that makes them way more efficient than incandescent, but still a little less efficient (at least right now) than CFL's... especially the CFL non-integrated ballast that I have in my kitchen.

post #27 of 48

For everyone considering LEDs as a lighting replacement I really suggest you look into Induction Lighting.  I have been promoting and selling Induction lights as a replacement for metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps mainly in commercial environments however with the pending ban on incandescent bulbs we are looking close at the residential market.  


I have a couple interesting links you should read regarding induction lighting.


A chart containing the benefits of induction lights.


Here is a technical description of how it is possible to produce 400 Watts of light with a 200 watt bulb.  It explains visually effective light which is very relevant as all energy which is not visible is wasted energy.  Think of how hot LEDs get... that is wasted watts.

post #28 of 48

Interesting!   Are those the lights that are relatively new and use a form of plasma to create the light or is that something else?

post #29 of 48

Rob: I disagree with your statement saying that LEDs get hot - I can hold an LED bulb all day and it's not hot whatsoever.  The LED converts electricity nearly to 100% light.  The power  driver in the bulbs may generate a little heat - however, that too is negligible.   and the amount depends upon brand.  I agree that LEP and your solutions are excellent solutions for many applications.


NoGreen: In reference to the chart (and understanding that different bulbs by different manufacturers have varying specifications), a CFL outputting 1100 lumens for 18W versus LED outputting 1000 for 10W  would tell me that LED is slightly more efficient.


Many CFLs also tend to "dim" very quickly - much quicker than LEDs, and also require time to "warm up" to color temperature and brightness.  With CFLs rated at a life span of 10,000 approximate hours - and LEDs anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000+, buying a decent CFL ends up costing not much less than a reasonably priced LED.


However, with efficiency and conserving in mind, the color rating index (CRI) effects the efficiency of LED light.  CRI is being marketed very strongly - and unless you have a specific need for color accuracy (displaying art, working in a salon applying makeup, etc) - it doesn't make any sense to pay more for an energy saving product =).


With that in mind, there are many LED products with an extremely high CRI, that may result in it being nearly or less efficient than CFL - and doesn't that defeat the purpose?


Here's an example...




12W PAR38, 50,000 hours, 960 lumens @ 3,000k, dimming, cost $38.48, 80 lumens per watt




Popular Competing LED Product

18W PAR38, 50,000 hours, 900 lumens @ 3,000k, dimming, cost $68.64 (on a major shopping site named after a river), 50 lumens per watt




Popular Brand CFL

23W PAR38, 10,000 hours, 1,200 lumens @ 3,000k, non dimming, cost $21.24 each ($106.20 for five to equal 50,000 hours), 52.17 lumens per watt




So, all in all - when considering efficiency, there's a large dynamic here!  For those who are looking to convert to LED, I think it's best to consider (1) cost of the product, (2) efficiency of the product, and (3) actual use - as the lightbulb that remains turned off in the attic isn't using much electricity - and will probably never pay for itself.  Unless ... efficiency and going "green" isn't the objective, and a boutique product is desired ....









ps:: Not to get all entirely OCD regarding lighting, however, with efficiency in mind - there are also advantages offered by the use of timers, motion sensors, and solar panels.  With LED I can effectively light five rooms plus two exterior locations with led lighting with less than 100 watts total for all of the bulbs combined.  A guess-timate of 24 hour usage for all above mentioned lamps is $11 per month.  Not too shabby.  That's approximately 14 watts per 7 rooms or locations.  If the lights in those 7 locations were not in service by use of sensors, timers, or turning lights off; I think I can reduce the usage of electricity for each locations by about 50%.  In fact, if I'm only one person - and only need one location at any given moment, at 14W, I could be paying less than $2 in electricity per month for lighting electrical costs.......... cool.gif  $24 per year? I LOVE IT

Edited by BrightIdea - 8/14/11 at 6:32pm
post #30 of 48

I buy  smd the newest and better than regular led. from china who is out running the us in this area. they cost 6.50 each and ship for free. The greed of us companies is keeping the price up here. It only cost pennies to make a smd led and they want to charge 10,000 percent profit manfururating cost 1.00 consumer cost 22.00 to 25.00

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