Analysis of Proposed Consent Order
to Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from respondent Castrol North America Inc. ("Castrol").
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for sixty (60) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After sixty (60) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement's proposed order.
Castrol manufactures and sells automotive products, including fuel additive products added by consumers to a car's gas tank. This matter concerns allegedly deceptive advertising claims regarding the performance attributes of a fuel additive product, Castrol's Syntec Power System ("Castrol Syntec"). The Commission's proposed complaint alleges that Castrol made unsubstantiated claims that Castrol Syntec significantly improves engine power and acceleration for motor vehicles generally. The complaint also challenges as unsubstantiated the claim that Castrol Syntec is superior to other fuel system treatments in improving engine power and acceleration. Finally, the complaint challenges as false or misleading the claims that laboratory tests prove that Castrol Syntec (a) significantly improves engine power and acceleration, and (b) is superior to other fuel system treatments in improving engine power and acceleration.
The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent respondent from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future.
Part I of the proposed order prohibits respondent claiming that Castrol Syntec or any other fuel or oil additive improves power or acceleration, or is superior to other products in this regard, unless the claim is substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Part II of the proposed order requires Castrol to have substantiation for any representation concerning the performance, benefits, efficacy, attributes or use of Castrol Syntec or any other fuel additive product.
Part III of the proposed order prohibits respondent from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test, study or research done on any fuel additive product.
Part IV of the proposed order requires respondent to maintain copies of all materials relied upon in making any representation covered by the order.
Part V of the proposed order requires respondent to distribute copies of the order to its operating divisions and to various officers, agents and employees of respondent.
Part VI of the proposed order requires respondent to notify the Commission of any changes in corporate structure that might affect compliance with the order.
Part VII of the proposed order requires respondent to file with the Commission one or more reports detailing compliance with the order.
Part VIII of the proposed order is a "sunset" provision, dictating that the order will terminate twenty years from the date it is issued or twenty years after a complaint is filed in federal court, by either the United States or the FTC, alleging any violation of the order.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.