Announced Actions for May 31, 2005

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Commission authorization of amicus brief filing: The Commission has authorized the filing of a joint amicus brief with the U.S. Department of Justice in the matter of Texaco, Inc. v. Dagher, Nos. 04-805, 04-814 (U.S. S. Ct.). The brief, which is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, concerns a case in which the Ninth Circuit held that it would be a per se violation of the Sherman Act for two parent entities of a joint venture to equalize prices for the two brands of gasoline being sold by the joint venture. The Commission vote authorizing the filing of the joint amicus brief was 4-0-1, with Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras recused. (FTC File No. P052103; the staff contact is John F. Daly, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2244.)

Commission authorization of the staff to file amended complaint: The Commission has authorized the staff to file an amended complaint in the matter currently pending against American Business Solutions, et al. The Commission’s original complaint in this matter, filed in February 2005, charged several Canadian-based companies and their principals with targeting U.S. consumers in a scheme to trick them into paying for unordered business directories and listings in the directories. Through the amended complaint, the staff is seeking to add Phong Anh Vo as a defendant in this matter, to seek a preliminary injunction against Vo, and to add Marketing USA as a d/b/a of 9125-8947 Quebec, Inc., also d/b/a/ Commutel Marketing.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the amended complaint was 5-0. (FTC File No. X050038; the staff contact is Kathryn C. Decker, FTC Northwest Region, 206-220-4486; see press release dated March 2, 2005.)

Publication of Federal Register notice: The Commission has authorized the publication of final amendments to the FTC’s Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation (16 CFR Part 460; File No. R811001), commonly known as the R-value Rule. The Rule, issued in 1979, requires insulation industry members to provide consumers with important information about the thermal performance of home insulation products. This information, which must be based on uniform test procedures, helps consumers make decisions about heating and cooling their homes to maximize energy efficiency and reduce costs.

The amendments announced today mark the completion of a broad Commission review of the Rule. After analyzing the comments received during this proceeding, the Commission has amended the Rule to increase its benefits for consumers and sellers, minimize its costs, and respond to new technical developments in the industry. For example, the amendments require disclosures that will make it easier for installers, consumers, and inspectors to ensure that the correct amount of loose-fill insulation is installed in homes. In addition, the amendments streamline advertising disclosure requirements; update the required tests for some insulation products; delete disclosures for insulation products no longer sold; and eliminate duplicative disclosure requirements for sellers of do-it-yourself home insulation. The Federal Register notice, which explains these changes in detail, will be published shortly and is available on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release.

The Commission vote to publish the final rulemaking notice in the Federal Register was 5-0. (FTC File Nos. R811001; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889; see press releases dated August 27, 1999 and July 8, 2003.)

Commission announcement of consumer hotline number: The Commission today announced the creation of a hotline for consumers who purchased vending machine business opportunities from Success Vending Group, Inc. or National Vending Consultants, Inc. The hotline number is 202-326-2411, and provides information, in both English and Spanish, about the status of the case that the FTC filed against Success Vending Group and National Vending Consultants. Customers of Success Vending Group and National Vending Consultants are requested to leave a message on the hotline with their contact information, including their name, address, and daytime and evening telephone numbers.

The FTC sued Success Vending Group, National Vending Consultants, and their principals in February 2005, alleging that the defendants made various misrepresentations to consumers about the vending machine business opportunities they marketed and sold, such as the substantial income consumers would likely earn and the authenticity of references they provided to consumers. The court issued an order on April 27, 2005, prohibiting defendants from making various misrepresentations, freezing defendants’ assets, and appointing a receiver to take charge of Success Vending Group and National Vending Consultants. (FTC File No. X000039, Civ. No. CV-S-05-0160-RCJ-PAL; the staff contact is Hillary Davidson, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2384; see press release dated May 17, 2005.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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