|September 6, 2002
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE -- The maker of George Foreman grills will pay $8.2 million to settle charges that it violated antitrust laws by fixing its products' prices and blocking competition from other manufacturers, Attorney General Bob Butterworth announced today.
Without admitting wrongdoing, Illinois-based Salton Inc. also agreed to marketing changes designed to prevent such actions in the future. The agreement settles a complaint filed by Florida and 43 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Salton manufactures the George Foreman contact grill, a two-sided electric appliance designed for indoor cooking and promoted by the former heavyweight boxing champion whose name it bears. The states charged Salton with preventing retailers from selling its grills below the company's recommended price and from carrying competing brands of contact grills.
"Retailers who sold Salton grills below the company's established minimum price had their shipments suspended until they committed to honor the set prices," Butterworth said. "At the same time, Salton demanded that retailers not sell other brands of contact grills, suspending sales to those retailers who did. In effect, Salton delivered a one-two punch to consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices for the George Foreman grill while denying them ready access to other, less expensive brands."
Because of the difficulty and expense of identifying individual consumers for refunds, the agreement calls for Salton to pay $8 million to benefit public and private health and nutrition programs. Those funds will be divided among participating states on a per capita basis. In addition, Salton will pay $200,000 to cover the cost of a multi-state investigation into its marketing practices.
The agreement was handled for Florida by Assistant Attorney General Eric Taylor.