Sunday, March 30, 2008

3M falls short

FRESNO, CALIF. - In a case that proves that size really does matter, 3M Co. has agreed to pay almost $700,000 to settle a Fresno County case that alleged the company sold undersize adhesive tapes.

Fresno County prosecutors made their case stick by showing that 3M's Scotch and Tartan brand adhesive and packaging tapes were 6 percent narrower than advertised.

"They knew what the width was, and they seemed to want to exaggerate it," said Alan Yengoyan, the Fresno County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.

Under the settlement announced Thursday, 3M agreed to change its labels. It also will pay Fresno County $600,000 in civil penalties and an additional $75,000 into a state trust fund to benefit county and state weights and measures offices. The company also will pay $18,000 to the state Department of Measurement and Standards, which investigated the case.

In settling the case, 3M did not admit liability or guilt. Company officials could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The case involved violations of the state and federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, Yengoyan, said.

A tape that was labeled for "1-inch use" measured 0.94 of an inch. That 6 percent deficiency also showed up on the company's other tape products.

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