June 12, 2014
St. Louis, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that his office has joined the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures in a crackdown on mislabeled and fake auto-engine products. Koster filed lawsuits against five St. Louis-area retailers for selling engine products knowing the products either misrepresented their contents or could seriously damage consumers' cars.
"People who rely on their car to get to work or to take their kids to school should not have to face catastrophic engine failure because they tried to save money," said Koster. "Missouri consumers deserve engine products that live up to the representations made on the bottle."
Beginning in December, 2013, state inspectors discovered that St. Louis-area retailers were selling 41 different brands of motor oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze products that did not contain the volume or quality of the contents advertised on their label. Testing overseen by the Division of Weights and Measures found products seized from the wholesaler of the products – Rock Bottom Wholesale of St. Louis – had a variety of problems, including:
Each of the 17 retailers and two wholesalers visited by state inspectors in March was ordered to stop selling the 41 suspect products. In a May re-inspection, inspectors found five retailers were still selling products in violation of the Stop-Sale order. In lawsuits filed in St. Louis City and County, Koster alleges the five retailers knowingly sold fraudulent products to consumers that could damage their cars.
The following retailers are being sued for continuing to sell suspect products in violation of the Stop-Sale order:
Koster's lawsuits seek to permanently ban the retailers from selling these products in the future, and restitution for consumers who purchased the products after the Stop-Sale Order and for any resulting harm to the consumers' cars. The lawsuits also seek civil penalties and the payment of costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of the cases.
"Our investigation remains ongoing, particularly into the source of these products," said Koster. "While we have removed deceptive products from these 17 stores, consumers should be aware that inspectors continue to check for these damaging products in other stores throughout the state."
The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures maintains a consumer alert listing of the products included in the Stop-Sale orders online at: http://agriculture.mo.gov/weights/fuel/consumeralert.php. By law, products included on this list cannot be sold in the state of Missouri.
Recent additional inspections have found products included in the alert on shelves of five Kansas City-area stores and six additional St. Louis-area stores. Those stores have been issued Stop-Sale orders for the listed products.
Consumers who purchased any products covered by the state's Stop-Sale order should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online.
The following antifreeze/coolant products cannot be offered for sale in Missouri:
The following automatic transmission fluid products cannot be offered for sale in Missouri:
The following motor oil products cannot be offered for sale in Missouri: