Attorney General Thurbert Baker today announced the settlement of an $8.2 million nationwide settlement with houseware manufacturer Salton, Inc. This settlement resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed by Georgia and 44 other states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The lawsuit, the result of a two-year investigation, alleges that Salton coerced retailers into fixing the price for Salton's George Foreman contact grills and into excluding competitors of Salton from store shelves. George Foreman contact grills are popular grills that cook food on both sides simultaneously, much like a waffle iron. Under the policies challenged by the Attorneys General, when retailers sold at a discount or stocked a competing product, Salton suspended the retailer until it fell into line with Salton's policies.
"Georgia consumers have a right to be protected from anti-consumer activity and pricing," stated Attorney General Baker. "As Attorney General, I will ensure that manufacturers who take advantage of Georgia consumers are held accountable. We take another step today towards guaranteeing a fair and competitive marketplace in Georgia."
Under the settlement, Salton will pay $8 million in damages, $200,000 in investigative expenses, and notice costs. Salton will also agree to a court-order that prevents it from engaging in similar anti-competitive conduct in the future. The damage amount is subject to adjustment depending on the number of states signing on to the settlement.
The settlement agreement provides that settlement funds be distributed to charitable entities and/or government agencies for initiatives to improve health care and nutrition in ways that benefit, as a group, the purchasers of the Grills.
Further details on the settlement will be posted on Attorney General Baker's website, http://ago.georgia.gov, as they become available. Additional information can also be found on the National Association of Attorneys General website at http://naag.org/issues/20020909-multi-salton.php.