Analysis of Proposed Consent Order
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from respondent Memtek Products, Inc. ("Memtek").
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) 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.
Memtek repackages, advertises, labels and sells, among other products, "Memorex" brand computer diskettes, and blank audiotapes and videotapes. This matter concerns allegedly deceptive rebate advertising claims made in conjunction with the sale of these products. The Commission's proposed complaint alleges that Memtek falsely represented that purchasers of its package of 100 computer diskettes would receive a $29.99 cash rebate within 12 weeks of Memtek's receipt of purchasers' rebate requests. The complaint alleges that in many instances purchasers received their rebates one to two months late. The complaint also alleges that Memtek falsely represented that purchasers of its blank audiotapes and videotapes would receive a $10 Best Buy Gift Check within 8 weeks of Memtek's receipt of purchasers' gift check requests. The $10 Gift Check could then be used at any Best Buy retail store to obtain $10 off the purchase of any pre-recorded videotape or music CD. The complaint alleges that in many instances purchasers received their $10 Gift Checks one to three months late.
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 from misrepresenting the time in which any cash rebate, or rebate in the form of credit towards future purchases, will be mailed to consumers. It also prohibits respondent from failing to provide such rebates within the time specified, or if no time is specified, within thirty days.
Part I of the proposed order also prohibits respondent from violating any provision of the FTC's Mail Order Rule in connection with rebates in the form of merchandise. Among other things, the Mail Order Rule prohibits marketers from failing to provide rebates in the form of merchandise within the time they specify for delivery, or if no time is specified, within thirty days, unless they offer consumers the option of consenting to a delay or canceling the rebate request and promptly receiving reasonable cash compensation instead of the merchandise originally offered. Finally, Part I of the proposed order similarly prohibits respondent from failing to provide rebates in the form of services or any other consideration (other than cash, credit towards future purchases, or merchandise) within the time it specifies for delivery, or if no time is specified, within thirty days, unless it offers consumers the option of consenting to a delay or canceling the rebate request and promptly receiving reasonable cash compensation instead of the rebate originally offered.
Part II of the proposed order requires respondent to maintain copies of all materials relied upon in making any representation covered by this order.
Part III of the proposed order requires respondent to distribute copies of the order to various officers, agents and employees of respondent.
Part IV of the proposed order requires respondent to notify the Commission of any changes in corporate structure that might affect compliance with the order.
Part V of the proposed order requires respondent to file with the Commission one or more reports detailing compliance with the order.
Part VI 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.