State Hits Bullseyes Wallet


Bullseye is the target of legal retribution again. This week, it was ordered by a Michigan circuit court to pay the $711,415 fine issued in 2013 for violating the states weights and measures laws. The Illinois-based motor oil merchant already owes the American Petroleum Institute almost $2 million as a result of a 2013 lawsuit, and its products have been banned by various states in the past few years.

After declaring that Bullseye-branded motor oils could cause lasting damage to engines in 2013, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development banned sale of the Illinois-based companys products and fined it $711,415 on Oct. 30, 2013.

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The departments director of communications, Jennifer Holton, told Lube Report that it had escalated the case to the Ingham County Circuit Court in August 2014 to seek payment from an unresponsive Bullseye. A Feb. 9 press release from the agency noted that the court made the decision to mandate the fine as a default judgment after Bullseye failed to respond to summons or appear in court.

Bullseye was selling substandard products to Michigan consumers, which could lead to lasting damage to vehicles, said MDARDs director, Jamie Clover Adams, in a statement issued earlier this week. Thanks to Michigans Weights and Measures inspectors, we were able to get the bad products out of commerce, protecting businesses and consumers alike.

Michigan initially enforced stop-use and stop-removal orders on Bullseye products in October 2013. The ban was a result of a 12-month investigation in which the state agency found that bottles of Bullseye-branded oils neither contained the amount of products its labels claimed nor met the viscosity and other standards its labels advertised. Selling oil that is inaccurately labeled in any way is a direct violation of Michigans Weights and Measures Act of 1964, Holton pointed out.

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America issued a consumer alert on the Bullseye brand in 2011, after the New Jersey-based watchdog tested a sample of the oil purchased in Ohio in January of that year. Since then, states such as Georgia and Missouri have also barred the sale of all Bullseye-branded motor oils.

Last year, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster also set sights on retailers in the state that had been selling Bullseye products. Koster filed lawsuits against five Missouri stores that continued selling Bullseyes products months after the stop-sale order.

“Our investigation remains ongoing, particularly into the source of these products,” said Koster in a June 2014 statement. “While we have removed deceptive products from 17 stores, consumers should be aware that inspectors continue to check for these damaging products in other stores throughout the state.”

In 2013, the American Petroleum Institute sued Bullseye in an Indiana district court for unlawful use of API trademarks. The court ruled in favor of API in a November 2014 decision, finding Bullseye guilty of counterfeiting, trademark infringement and false advertising. As Bullseye products are not licensed by API, the court ordered Bullseye to recall and destroy all its products displaying API trademarks. Bullseye also must pay $1.8 million in damages plus interest to the nations largest oil and gas association.

We dont believe there is any Bullseye product still on the shelves in Michigan, Jennifer Holton told Lube Report. But if people still have some in inventory, they should not be using it.

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