Attorney General Lockyer Announces Multi-State Settlement Over Alleged Price-Fixing of Salton George Foreman Grills

Friday, September 6, 2002
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced today an $8.2 million multi-state settlement with houseware manufacturer Salton, Inc. over the alleged price-fixing of George Foreman contact grills popularly seen advertised in television commercials.

"Cooking like a champ should mean competing fairly like a champ," Lockyer said. "This settlement takes aim at improper business practices used to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace."

The settlement reached by California, 43 other states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia stems from a two-year investigation into Salton for allegedly coercing retailers into fixing the price of the George Foreman contact grills and keeping competing grills off store shelves. The investigation looked at the manufacturer's policy of suspending retailers who sold its product at a discount or stocked a competitor's product. The grills cook food on both sides at once. In the antitrust complaint filed today in the federal court in New York, Salton agreed to a proposed court-order preventing the company from further engaging in similar anti-competitive practices. The company also will pay $8 million in damages, $200,000 in investigative expenses and cover the cost of notifying consumers about terms of the settlement.

Because of the difficulty and expense of determining individual refunds to consumers who were harmed by the business practices, the settlement proposes to use the $8 million in penalties to benefit the public generally. For California, the settlement would mean an estimated $900,000 available for grants to governmental agencies and nonprofit groups to support programs to improve health care and nutrition.

Further settlement details are available at the National Association of Attorneys General web site.

The settlement was entered into by the states of: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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