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Notice

Relief-Mart, Inc.; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Proposed consent agreement.

SUMMARY:

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before August 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​reliefmartincconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “Relief Mart, File No. 122 3128” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​reliefmartincconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robin Moore (202-326-2167), FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for July 25, 2013), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​actions.shtm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.

You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before August 26, 2013. Write “Relief Mart, File No. 122 3128” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR Start Printed Page 469534.9(c).[1] Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​reliefmartincconsent by following the instructions on the Web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!home. you also may file a comment through that Web site.

If you file your comment on paper, write “Relief Mart, File No. 122 3128” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before August 26, 2013. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Relief-Mart, Inc., a corporation (“respondent”).

The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt 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.

This matter involves respondent's marketing and sale of memory foam mattresses. According to the FTC's complaint, respondent represented that its mattresses do not contain volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), have no VOC off-gassing, and lack the odors commonly associated with memory foam. The complaint alleges that respondent did not possess and rely upon a reasonable basis substantiating these representations when it made them. Thus, the complaint alleges that respondent engaged in deceptive practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act. The Commission does not typically challenge subjective claims, such as smell.[2] However, a consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances is likely to interpret representations that a memory foam mattress lacks the common smell associated with memory foam to mean that the mattress is free of VOCs.

The proposed consent order contains two provisions designed to prevent respondent from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future. Part I addresses the marketing of VOC-free mattresses. It prohibits respondent from making zero-VOC claims unless the VOC emission level is zero micrograms per meter cubed or the company possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that their mattresses contain no more than a trace level of VOCs based on the Green Guides' guidance on making free-of claims.[3] Part II addresses VOC claims, odor-free claims and comparative odor claims, environmental benefit or attribute claims, and certain health claims made about mattresses. It prohibits such representations unless the representation is true, not misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Parts III though VI require Relief-Mart to: Keep copies of advertisements and materials relied upon in disseminating any representation covered by the order; provide copies of the order to certain personnel, agents, and representatives having supervisory responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of the order; notify the Commission of changes in its structure that might affect compliance obligations under the order; and file a compliance report with the Commission and respond to other requests from FTC staff. Part VII provides that the order will terminate after twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.

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 complaint or the proposed order, or to modify the proposed order's terms in any way.

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By direction of the Commission.

Richard C. Donohue,

Acting Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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2.  See FTC, FTC Policy Statement on Deception, appended to Cliffdale Assocs., Inc., 103 F.T.C. 110, 174 (1984).

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3.  See Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, 77 FR 62, 122, 62,123 (Oct. 11, 2012).

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[FR Doc. 2013-18613 Filed 8-1-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-P