Local customers have joined a class action lawsuit against Dollar General, accusing the retailer of using deceptive marketing to sell motor oil designed for cars made before 1930 and 1988.
There are two different types of Dollar General oil referenced in the lawsuits. One is not suitable for cars made after 1930. The other is not suitable for cars made after 1988.
Customers believe Dollar General failed to warn customers the oil can damage modern cars.
But Dollar General says the warning is right there on the product.
KCTV5 could not find a single bottle of Dollar General brand motor oil at a location in Mission.
However, a location in Shawnee off Nieman Road sold plenty of the brand.
That location is where an Overland Park man says he bought a bottle in January.
Andrew Smith is an attorney for Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. He says the Dollar General is guilty of concealing their brand with other motor oils.
The customer has joined a class action lawsuit.
"If someone was going to sell motor oil for a 1930 or older engine, they would be marketing it to a very specific demographic of consumer and not hiding it along with other motor oils in a Dollar General," Smith said.
The oil does not contain additives that modern cars need.
The back label on one type of Dollar General motor oil says, "Caution: It is not suitable for use in most gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1930. Use in modern engines may cause unsatisfactory engine performance or equipment harm."
Dollar General sent KCTV5 news a written statement:
For more than 75 years, Dollar General has been committed to providing our customers quality products at everyday low prices. We are confident that our DG-branded motor oil products meet not only our standards for quality and value, but also all applicable federal and state labeling requirements where they are sold. In addition, the labeling on these products contains obvious and unambiguous language regarding the products’ intended and appropriate use.
Dollar General intends to vigorously defend against the claims raised in the recently-filed lawsuits regarding these products, including the filing of motions seeking their dismissal.
Smith believes the labeling was not enough to warn customers.
"That's the age old defense of deceptive practices, isn't it? We sold you a bag of goods, but if you would have looked into a tiny spot on the back, you would have known we were selling you a useless product."
Several individuals are suing Dollar General, saying putting the oil in their car damaged it.
For some customers like Saundra Greer, this was a lesson to always read the fine print.
"That's what I'll do from now on," she said. "After this, I will definitely read the label."
Dollar General also provided KCTV5 a 53-page motion to dismiss the class action lawsuits. Representatives say they'll vigorously defend against the claims because they believe the labels are very clear.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled to transfer the class action lawsuits to U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Fenner of the Western District of Missouri.
Eighteen different lawsuits have been filed in 18 different districts, including Kansas and Missouri.
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