9623072
B231249

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BEFORE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

COMMISSIONERS:
Robert Pitofsky, Chairman
Mary L. Azcuenaga
Sheila F. Anthony
Mozelle W. Thompson
Orson Swindle

In the Matter of 

ASHLAND, INC., a corporation.

DOCKET NO. C-3775
DECISION AND ORDER

The Federal Trade Commission having initiated an investigation of certain acts and practices of the respondent named in the caption hereof, and the respondent having been furnished thereafter with a copy of a draft of complaint which the Bureau of Consumer Protection proposed to present to the Commission for its consideration and which, if issued by the Commission, would charge respondent with violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act; and

The respondent, its attorneys, and counsel for the Commission having thereafter executed an agreement containing a consent order, an admission by the respondent of all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the aforesaid draft of complaint, a statement that the signing of said agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by respondent that the law has been violated as alleged in such complaint, or that the facts as alleged in such complaint, other than jurisdictional facts, are true, and waivers and other provisions as required by the Commission's Rules; and

The Commission having thereafter considered the matter and having determined that it had reason to believe that the respondent has violated the said Act, and that a complaint should issue stating its charges in that respect, and having thereupon accepted the executed consent agreement and placed such agreement on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days, now in conformity with the procedure prescribed in  2.34 of its Rules, the Commission hereby issues its complaint, makes the following jurisdictional findings and enters the following order:

1. Respondent Ashland, Inc., is a Kentucky corporation, with its office and principal place of business located at 1000 Ashland Drive, Russell, KY 41169.
 
2. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this proceeding and of the respondent, and the proceeding is in the public interest.

ORDER

Definitions

For purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:

"Engine treatment" shall mean packaged chemical ingredients sold to consumers as a supplement to fully-formulated motor oil in a vehicle's engine and as having the capacity to affect the engine or the engine's performance even after a subsequent oil change.

"Competent and reliable scientific evidence" shall mean tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.

I.

IT IS ORDERED that respondent Ashland, Inc., a corporation, its successors and assigns, and its officers, agents, representatives, and employees, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division or other device, in connection with the manufacturing, advertising, labeling, packaging, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of Valvoline TM8 Engine Treatment or any other engine treatment, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in the Federal Trade Commission Act, do forthwith cease and desist from:

A. Making any representation, in any manner, directly or by implication:

1. That such product bonds polytetrafluoroethylene, Teflon, or any other substance to engine parts;
 
2. That, compared to motor oil alone, such product:

a) Reduces engine wear.

b) Reduces camshaft bearing wear by up to 75%, or by any other amount.

c) Reduces main bearing wear by up to 75%, or by any other amount.

d) Under high temperature conditions experienced by engines, provides twice as much, or any other incremental degree, of wear protection.

e) Extends the duration of engine life.

f) Improves fuel economy;

3. That one or any other number of treatments of such product lasts for 50,000 or any other number of miles; or
 
4. Regarding the performance or attributes of such product, unless, at the time of making such representation, respondent possesses and relies upon competent and reliable evidence, which when appropriate must be competent and reliable scientific evidence, that substantiates the representation.

B. Misrepresenting, in any manner, directly or by implication, the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study.

II.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this order, respondent, its successors and assigns, shall maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:

A. All labeling, packaging, advertisements and promotional materials setting forth any representation covered by this order;

B. All materials that were relied upon to substantiate any representation covered by this order; and

C. All tests, reports, studies, surveys, demonstrations or other evidence in their possession or control that contradicts, qualifies, or calls into question such representation or the basis upon which respondent relied for such representation, including complaints from consumers or governmental entities.

III.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent, its successors and assigns, shall notify the Federal Trade Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any proposed change in the respondent such as dissolution, assignment, or sale resulting in the emergence of a successor corporation, the creation or dissolution of subsidiaries, or any other change in the corporation which may affect compliance obligations arising under this order.

IV.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent, its successors and assigns, shall forthwith distribute a copy of this order to each of its operating divisions and to each of its officers, agents, representatives, or employees engaged in the preparation and placement of advertisements, promotional materials, product labels or other such sales materials covered by this order, and shall obtain from each such person or entity a signed statement acknowledging receipt of the order.

V.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this order will terminate on January 5, 2018, or twenty years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:

A. Any paragraph in this order that terminates in less than twenty years;

B. This order's application to any respondent that is not named as a defendant in such complaint; and

C. This order if such complaint is filed after the order has terminated pursuant to this paragraph.

Provided further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this paragraph as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.

VI.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent, its successors and assigns, shall, within sixty (60) days after service of this order, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which it has complied or intends to comply with this order.

By the Commission, Commissioner Thompson and Commissioner Swindle not participating.

Donald S. Clark
Secretary

SEAL

ISSUED: January 5, 1998