Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed Consent Agreement.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. 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.
Comments must be received on or before August 18, 2014.
Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/plasticlumberconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “Engineered Plastic Systems, Consent Agreement; File No. 132 3204” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/plasticlumberconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Robert Frisby, Bureau of Consumer Protection, (202-326-2098), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.
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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 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 17, 2014), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm.
You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before August 18, 2014. Write “Engineered Plastic Systems, Consent Agreement; File No. 132 3204” 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 Start Printed Page 42794information, 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 4.9(c).
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/plasticlumberconsent 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 “Engineered Plastic Systems, Consent Agreement; File No. 132 3204” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.
Analysis of Proposed 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 Engineered Plastic Systems, LLC, a limited liability company (“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 addresses allegedly deceptive green claims that Respondent made while promoting its plastic lumber products. According to the FTC complaint, Respondent represented that some of its benches and tables are all, or virtually all, recycled plastic. The complaint also alleges that these products contained substantially less recycled plastic than Respondent represented. According to the complaint, from June 2011 to early 2014, Respondent's tables and benches, on average, contained only about 72% recycled plastic. Thus, the complaint alleges that the above claims were false, misleading, or unsubstantiated in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act.
The proposed consent order contains several provisions designed to prevent Respondent from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future. Part I prohibits Respondent from making representations regarding the recycled content or the environmental benefit of any product or package unless they are true, not misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable evidence. Part I further provides that if, in general, experts in the relevant scientific field would conclude it necessary, such evidence must be competent and reliable scientific evidence. Consistent with the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”), 16 CFR 260.13(b), Part I specifically requires Respondent to substantiate recycled content claims by demonstrating that such content is composed of materials that were recovered or otherwise diverted from the waste stream.
Parts II through VI are reporting and compliance provisions. Part II requires Respondent to keep (and make available to the Commission on request): copies of advertisements and promotional materials containing the representations covered by the order; materials relied upon in disseminating those representations; and evidence that contradicts, qualifies, or calls into question the representations, or the basis relied upon for the representations. Part III requires dissemination of the order now and in the future to principals, officers, directors, and managers, and to all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities relating to the subject matter of the order. It also requires Respondent to maintain and make available to the FTC all acknowledgments of receipt of the order. Part IV requires notification to the FTC of changes in corporate status. Part V mandates that Respondent submit an initial compliance report to the FTC and subsequent reports requested by the FTC. Part VI is a provision terminating the order after twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.
The purpose of this analysis is to aid public comment on the proposed consent order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the proposed order or to modify its terms in any way.
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By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 2014-17285 Filed 7-22-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P