Author: Tronserve admin
Monday 2nd August 2021 01:46 AM
Japan Consumer Agency Investigates Cosmo Oil Over Decade-Long False Advertising
Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency has launched an investigation into oil wholesale giant Cosmo Oil Co. over a false advertising scandal in which the company claimed for at least a decade that its premium gasoline product would clean engines when used continuously, a source close to the matter has revealed to the Mainichi Shimbun.
The agency suspects that Japan's No. 3 oil distributor violated a law prohibiting misleading representations when it promoted its "Super Magnum" high-octane gasoline by claiming for at least 10 years that "the longer it's used the cleaner your engine will become." The agency is expected to have notified Cosmo Oil of the investigation and requested the company to submit documents intended to support its claim.
The law prohibits entities to advertise their products as significantly better than their actual quality or as considerably better than other products sold by competitors when it's factually incorrect. Cosmo Oil corrected the contents of its promotion materials in April after the Mainichi Shimbun pointed out the problem, but the agency is taking action over the allegations as the law is applied retroactively.
If any violation is recognized, the agency will issue an order to Cosmo Oil to take recurrence prevention measures and not to repeat the same violation. In addition, the agency can order Cosmo Oil to pay a monetary penalty -- 3% of up to three years' worth of its premium gas sales -- unless there were circumstances in which the company could not prevent the violation from occurring. Even if the agency cannot recognize any wrongdoing, it will issue administrative guidance calling for the firm to to make improvements if it did anything that might have violated the law.
Cosmo Oil started selling "Super Magnum" high-octane gasoline in May 1992. While the product never contained additives that clean engines, the company had emphasized its cleansing feature when promoting the product, saying on its website that the product has "high cleaning power" and that "the longer you continue to use it, the cleaner your engines become." It also promoted the product as containing cleanser.
However, after the Mainichi Shimbun asked Cosmo Oil about the accuracy of its advertisement compared to the product's actual capabilities, the company corrected the statements on its website to "containing additives that keep engines clean," among other claims. It also deleted the statement, "the highest level of quality in the industry." According to the company, these questionable claims had been up on its website for at least 10 years.
(Japanese original by Koji Endo, Osaka Special Reports Department)