LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Attorney General Hector Balderas announced his office has filed a lawsuit against national discount retail chain Dollar General for false advertising, unfair trade practices, and environmental public nuisance.
The retailer is accused of selling "obsolete motor oil" in New Mexico stores from 2010 until February of this year.
Dollar General has 87 stores across New Mexico, including in rural and suburban communities, many of which are lower income, Balderas' office said.
"My office continues to aggressively protect hard working New Mexico families and vulnerable consumers by holding big corporations like Dollar General accountable for preying on them and lying about the quality of the products that they sell," said Balderas in a news release. "Putting New Mexicans' valuable property and safety at risk is unacceptable, and companies that harm our communities and profit by taking money out of the pockets of our families will face consequences for their bad acts."
The attorney general alleges Dollar General knowingly marketed, distributed and sold its DG Auto brand obsolete motor oil (labeled "DG Auto" SAE 10W-30, SAE 10W-40 and DG SAE-30) utilizing false advertising and deceptive and misleading marketing and sales practices.
Dollar General's DG SAE 10W-30 and DG SAE 10W-40 motor oil products are manufactured to the API Service Category "SF" specification, which is obsolete and not suitable for motor vehicles built after 1988, Balderas said.
Dollar General's DG SAE-30 motor oil product is manufactured to the API Service Category "SA" specification, which is not suitable for motor vehicles manufactured after 1930. Use of this obsolete motor oil in modern engines can cause engine damage, Balderas added.
Dollar General is accused misleading and deceiving consumers by "positioning its DG Auto obsolete motor oil immediately adjacent to the more expensive brand-name motor oil, wrongfully representing its obsolete motor oil is lower-priced but comparable to the brand-name products, failing to adequately warn its customers of the fact that its DG Auto obsolete motor oil is unsuitable for use by the vast majority of its customers, and distributing advertisements and other marketing materials that contain materially misleading statements and other representations as to the appropriate use and quality of its obsolete motor oil products," a news release states.
Balderas' office is asking the court to order Dollar General to develop and fund a state-approved program that would notify New Mexico Dollar General customers of the damages caused by the use of obsolete motor oil, inspect the engine of any customer who used obsolete Dollar General motor oils in their vehicles, repair or replace any damaged components or the entire automobile if necessary, and take any other steps necessary to fix the harm done to New Mexico's clean air from cars that used Dollar General obsolete motor oil.