For Your Information: December 16, 1997
The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent order binding on the respondents.
- The consent order settles charges with three Quaker State subsidiaries, Blue Coral, Inc., Blue Coral-Slick 50, Inc., and Blue Coral-Slick 50, Ltd., that ads about Slick 50 were false and unsubstantiated. In July 1996, the FTC issued a complaint that the ads for Slick 50 claiming improved engine performance and reduced engine wear were deceptive. According to the FTC complaint, the companies’ claims that without Slick 50 auto engines generally have little or no protection from wear at start-up and commonly experience premature engine failure caused by wear were false. The FTC complaint also charged that Slick 50 lacked substantiation for a number of advertising claims, including that the product, compared to motor oil alone, reduces engine wear; reduces engine wear by more than 50 percent; reduces engine wear by up to 50 percent; extends duration of engine life; increases gas mileage; and increases horsepower. In addition, the complaint alleged that the companies did not have adequate substantiation for their advertising claims that one treatment of Slick 50 continues to reduce wear for 50,000 miles and that it has been used in a significant number of U.S. Government vehicles. The consent agreement bars any claims about the performance, benefits, efficacy, attributes or use of any engine treatment, oil additive, or Slick 50 engine lubricant unless the companies possess and rely on competent and reliable evidence to substantiate the claims. In addition, it prohibits the companies from claiming that any other Slick 50 motor vehicle lubricant reduces wear on a part, extends the part’s life, lowers engine temperature, reduces toxic emissions, increases gas mileage or increases horsepower unless they can substantiate the claim. The subsidiaries also will be required to notify resellers of the product about the settlement with the FTC and the restrictions on advertising claims. Finally, the agreement holds open the option that the FTC may seek consumer redress. If the private class action suits against Quaker State and its subsidiaries currently under litigation do not result in at least $10 million in redress to consumers, the agency reserves the right to file its own federal district court action for consumer redress. In addition, the FTC has reserved its right to seek to intervene in any class action suit to oppose a settlement it believes is not in the public interest. (See news releases dated July 16, 1996, and July 23, 1997; Docket No. D09280; Commission vote to approve the consent agreement as final was 3-0, with Commissioner Sheila F. Anthony not participating.) Staff contact is Robert Frisby, 202- 326-2098.
Commission action regarding petitions to reopen and modify FTC orders: Following a public comment period, the FTC has ruled on a petition from the following:
- The FTC has approved in part the application of Cooper Industries, Inc., of Houston, Texas, by setting aside a portion of a 1993 consent order and amending other parts of the consent order. The Commission set aside provisions of the order which required Cooper to license and divest low-voltage industrial fuse technology that it gained in its acquisition of Brush Fuses, Inc. Neither Cooper nor a Commission-appointed trustee was able to find a buyer interested in acquiring the assets. The Commission modified another provision of the order requiring prior Commission approval of certain acquisitions and substituted a provision requiring prior notification. The Commission vote on this matter was 4-0, with Commissioner Roscoe B. Starek, III, concurring in the result only. (See August 19. 1997, February 13, 1996, and June 25, 1993, news releases for more information about the order; Docket No. C-3469.) Staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202- 326-2526.
Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-3128; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
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