The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a consent agreement with the Santa Clara County Motor Car Dealers Association. The final order settles charges that the Association orchestrated an advertising boycott of the San Jose Mercury News after the newspaper ran an article telling consumers how to analyze new car factory invoices. The Commission's action makes the consent order binding on the Association, which is based in Campbell, California.
Under the final order, the Association is prohibited from carrying out, participating in, inducing or assisting any boycott or concerted refusal to deal with any newspaper, periodical, television or radio station. The settlement does not prohibit the Association from engaging in joint advertising programs, so long as they are not part of any such boycott or concerted refusal to deal.
The order also requires the Association to amend its by-laws to incorporate the above prohibition, and to distribute the amended by-laws and the Commission order to each of its members. Finally, the order contains various reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring the Association's compliance.
The FTC's San Francisco Regional Office investigated this matter.
The Commission announced the consent agreement for public comment on Aug. 1, 1995. The vote to issue it in final and binding form occurred on Dec. 13 and was 5-0.
NOTE: A consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
A news release was issued at the time the Commission announced the consent agreement for public comment. Copies of that release and of the final order are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. For the latest FTC news as it happens, call the NewsPhone at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other information also are on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. 941 0107)