A class action lawsuit claims that Shop-Vac Corporation misrepresents the horsepower of its vacuums. The vacuum horsepower class action lawsuit was filed by Kevin Johnson who says he purchased a Shop-Vac 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Contractor Wet Dry Vac in June 2018. Johnson alleges that he made his purchase selection after reviewing the product’s labeling and packaging, and saw that the vacuum had a horsepower rating of 6.5 Peak HP. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, President of Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  If you’ve ever worked in any kind of contracting, construction, any form of home repair, if you own a home, if you’ve worked in a restaurant, fast food, even some major retailers, you probably have experience using a shop vac. You know, it’s easy to clean up spills, to clean up messes super quick. And these tools, these shop vacs are incredibly important to a lot of businesses and that’s why businesses are willing to pay top dollar for a machine that’s going to do what it’s advertised to do.

Unfortunately, some of these shop vacs are not living up to the claims made by the manufacturers. And I have Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions with me now to explain what’s happening. And Scott, what we’re looking at right now is a class action directed at Shop Vac saying that they’re misrepresenting the horsepower on these wet dry vac machines they’re selling. Lay this one out for us.

Scott Hardy:                          Yeah. When we were doing our research on this one, I saw it and I went, really? I had no idea. I thought that when you buy a shop back and it says it’s two and a half, three and a half, four and a half, six and a half horsepower, that that’s what you’re actually getting. You know, when I’m looking at these things, I guess like a lot of guys out there, I go, oh, more horsepower. I need that one that will go ahead and do it. Two and a half horsepower, no way, six and a half horsepower. That’s what I need to suck up the sawdust on my floor.

So I was shocked when it turns out, according to this class action, that those claims are essentially baseless. That your electrical outlet can only handle the electrical pull of a half a horsepower. So whether that motor can support two and a half or even six and a half horsepower, you’re not getting it. All you’re getting is a half horsepower from that motor. And that’s what this class action is about, is stop telling consumers and having them pay extra for that six and a half horsepower shop vac when that two and a half or that half horsepower shop vac will give them the, essentially the same performance.

Farron Cousins:                  That, you know, that is absolutely remarkable. And that’s one of the reasons I love having these conversations with you is because not just as it pertains to this particular class action, but that little nugget of knowledge right there. The fact that your outlets in your home when you plug in a device can only handle about half of a horsepower. I’m not exactly sure how you, how you say that, if that is correct at all but half a horsepower is what we’re going to call it.

So anything that is marketed as more than half a horsepower, you’re not going to get it. And that is a nugget that every consumer needs to walk away from this video understanding. Anything above that, yes, the device may be capable of doing it, but your power outlet in your home cannot. So you’re paying for something you will never be able to get in terms of power here.

Scott Hardy:                          Exactly. And, you know, and it makes me think. My father-in-law just got a wireless shop vac and I wonder what horsepower it’s advertised on. So that way, no matter whether he’s got an outlet or not, he’s able to clean up his shop. And I, you know, I’m willing to bet that they’ve got the same labeling issue on that vac. I hope that Shop Vac will do some way, do something in their marketing and in their promotions of their vacuums to address this issue and educate consumers that essentially they’re paying a big markup for no extra power.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. I mean, the, the only thing, you know, you may want to pay extra for when dealing with a product like this, unless of course you have big industrial, high voltage outlets that you’re using, which 99% of people will never even have access to. The only thing you may want to pay more money for is if you need a bigger canister. If you’re like me, if you just want one for the house, get a smaller one. I think the one I have is a, a two gallon shop vac. And Trust me, I use that thing constantly. Wonderful for cleaning out a fireplace, by the way, without destroying your good vacuum.

But yeah, this is, this seems pretty cut and dry here. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this same argument with, you know, horsepower versus voltage from your regular outlet. This could likely apply to all sorts of other devices like regular vacuums, you know, for your, for your carpets that sometimes like to say we have more horsepower than the competitors, when in reality it doesn’t even matter for most consumers out there.

Scott Hardy:                          Right. It won’t matter. As you said, most people don’t have, don’t have the more powerful outlets. And, you know, how are companies going to address this going forward? If the secret is truly out and we’re just paying more for nothing.

Farron Cousins:                  Absolutely. Scott Hardy, Top Class Actions, always a pleasure. And if anybody needs more information on this issue, please follow the link in the description of this video. Head on over to the Top Class Actions. And while you’re there, make sure you sign up for their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Scott Hardy:                          You’re welcome. Thanks for time Farron.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced