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Motor Oil Additive Cos. OK Deals

March 29, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Dura Lube and Motor Up, two makers of motor oil additives, have agreed to settle government charges that their product claims were misleading and unsubstantiated, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

The proposed settlements, which requires Dura Lube to pay $2 million in consumer refunds and bars the two companies from making deceptive statements about their products, end an administrative trial process against both businesses. Motor Up was not required to pay anything.

The FTC had charged the companies with making advertising claims that they could not support about their products. For example, the companies claimed that their products could prolong engine life and reduce the risk of serious engine damage compared to using motor oil alone.

Promotional materials for Dura Lube also indicated that tests had established such performance results as reduced engine wear and improved gas mileage. Motor Up ads further claimed that their product could prevent engine corrosion.

The commission denied that tests actually corroborated these claims and charged the companies with false advertising.

The settlement would forbid the companies from making any claims about the performance, benefits or attributes of any engine oil additive without reliable evidence to back them up. The companies also would be barred from misrepresenting tests or using misleading demonstrations to promote their products.

In addition, Dura Lube can no longer claim that its products are tested by the Environmental Protection Agency, must pay $2 million in consumer refunds, which the FTC will distribute, and must visit distributors’ facilities to replace Dura Lube labeling on products so that they comply with the order.

The settlements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, after which the commission will decide whether to make them final. A settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by the parties.

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On the Net: Federal Trade Commission site: http://www.ftc.gov

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