9710039
B241961

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BEFORE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Commissioners:
Robert Pitofsky
Sheila F. Anthony
Mozelle W. Thompson
Orson Swindle

In the Matter of

FASTLINE PUBLICATIONS, INC., and MID-AMERICA EQUIPMENT RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, corporations.

DOCKET NO. C-3819

DECISION AND ORDER

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

The respondents, their attorneys, and counsel for the Commission having thereafter executed an agreement containing a consent order, an admission by the respondents 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 respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in such complaint, 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 respondents have 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, and no comments having been filed thereafter by interested parties pursuant to 2.34 of its Rules, the Commission hereby issues its complaint, makes the following jurisdictional findings and enters the following order:

  1. Respondent Fastline Publications, Inc., is a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Kentucky, with its principal office and place of business located at 4900 Fox Run Road, Buckner, Kentucky 40010.
  2. Respondent Mid-America Equipment Retailers Association is a not-for-profit corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Indiana, with its principal office and place of business located at 9800 Association Court, Indianapolis, Indiana 46280.
  3. The acts and practices of the respondents alleged in this complaint have been in or affecting commerce, as “commerce” is defined in the Federal Trade Commission Act.
  4. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction of the subject matter in this proceeding and of the respondents, and the proceeding is in the public interest.

ORDER

I.

IT IS ORDERED that, for purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:

A. "Fastline" means Fastline Publications, Inc., its directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns; its subsidiaries, divisions, groups and affiliates controlled by Fastline, and the respective directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, successors, and assigns of each.

B. "Mid-America" means Mid-America Equipment Retailers Association, its directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns; its subsidiaries, divisions, groups and affiliates controlled by Mid-America, and the respective directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, successors, and assigns of each.

C. "Person" means any natural person, corporation, partnership, unincorporated association, or other entity.

D. "Fastline Farm" means the Fastline buying guide for new and used farm equipment and parts. "Fastline Farm Edition" means each separate edition (e.g., Fastline Kentucky Farm Edition) of Fastline Farm.

E. "Commission" means the Federal Trade Commission.

II.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mid-America, directly or indirectly, or through any corporate or other device, in or in connection with its activities as a trade association, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 44, shall forthwith cease and desist from:

A. Prohibiting, restricting, regulating, impeding, declaring unethical, or interfering with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person.

B. Carrying out, participating in, inducing, suggesting, urging, encouraging, or assisting in any boycott or threatened boycott of, or concerted refusal to deal with, any newspaper, periodical, publication, television station, radio station or other medium (including, but not limited to, the internet) regarding the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts.

III.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Fastline, directly or indirectly, or through any corporate or other device, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 44, shall forthwith cease and desist from agreeing or combining, attempting to agree or combine, or taking any action in furtherance of any agreement or combination with any other person to prohibit, restrict, regulate, impede, or interfere with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person.

PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that nothing contained in this order shall prohibit Fastline from formulating, adopting, disseminating to its advertisers, and enforcing reasonable guidelines with respect to representations that Fastline reasonably believes would be false or deceptive within the meaning of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

IV.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mid-America:

A. Within sixty (60) days after the date this order becomes final, amend its by-laws to incorporate by reference Paragraph II of this order, and distribute by first-class mail a copy of the amended by-laws to each of its members;

B. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its current officers and directors, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Mid-America whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

C. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute by-first class mail a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its members;

D. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, and within thirty (30) days of the date the person assumes such position, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each new officer and director of Mid-America, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Mid-America whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order; and

E. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, provide each new member with a copy of the complaint and order in this matter, and the amended by-laws, within thirty (30) days of the new member’s admission to Mid-America.

V.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Fastline shall:

A. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its current officers and directors, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Fastline whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

B. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, and within thirty (30) days of the date the person assumes such position, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each new officer and director of Fastline, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Fastline whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

C. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final publish, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a copy of the NOTICE in the Attachment to this order in the next scheduled issue of each Fastline Farm Edition; and

D. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final publish, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a copy of the NOTICE in the Attachment to this order in the February issue of each Fastline Farm Edition, or in the next issue of each Fastline Farm Edition in the event no Fastline Farm Edition is published in February.

VI.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each respondent shall file a verified written report with the Commission within sixty (60) days after the date this order becomes final, and annually thereafter for five (5) years on the anniversary of the date this order becomes final, and at such other times as the Commission may by written notice require, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which the respondent has complied with and is complying with this order.

VII.

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

VIII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each respondent shall, for the purpose of determining or securing compliance with this order, and subject to any legally recognized privilege, permit duly authorized Commission representatives:

A. Access during respondent's office hours, in the presence of counsel, to inspect any facilities and to inspect and copy all books, ledgers, accounts, correspondence, memoranda, reports, and other records and documents in respondent's possession or control that relate to any matter contained in this order; and

B. An opportunity, subject to respondent's reasonable convenience, to interview respondent, and officers, directors, employees, agents, or other representatives of respondent, who may have counsel present, regarding such matters.

IX.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order will terminate on July 28, 2018.

By the Commission.

Donald S. Clark
Secretary

SEAL

ISSUED: July 28, 1998

Attachment to Consent Order to Cease and Desist

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PRICE ADVERTISING IN FASTLINE

As a result of discussions with the Federal Trade Commission, Fastline Publications, Inc., has entered into an order prohibiting it from agreeing, attempting to agree, or taking any action in furtherance of any agreement with any other person, including, but not limited to, any other person who advertises in Fastline, to prohibit, restrict, regulate, impede, or interfere with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person. The order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a violation by Fastline. Copies of the order can be obtained by contacting Fastline.