Ending a bitter legal fight of more than seven years, the Federal Trade Commission yesterday announced a proposed settlement with Control Data Corp., a consent order in which the company agreed not to exaggerate the benefits of data-processing courses it offers at 22 sited across the country.
As part of the agreement, Control Data, the Minneapolis-based computer giant with sales in 1979 of about $3.3 billion, agreed to drop a lawsuit against the FTC filed two years ago, which charges the commission with delay and violating its own rules in the case.
The settlement stems from a 1973 FTC complaint against the company, which charged the company and its subsidiary, Automation Institute of America Inc., made unsubstantiated claims about the coursed between 1969 and 1971.
The company's schools now offer computer vocational courses to about 5,000 students across the country and in 14 counties.
A company official said yesterday that Control Data already had implemented order and has found jobs in the field for about 95 percent of the program's students who request placement assistance.
"We are greatly pleased at the resolution of this longstanding complaint," said the spokesman. "It concludes wight years of costly negotiation and is for the most part, a recognition of practices we instituted nearly a decade ago, which now are the industry standard."
Under the consent agreement, which does not represent an admission of guilt by the company, Control Data agreed not to misrepresent the qualifications for obtaining a job in the business, such as claiming that a college or high school degree does not aid a job applicant.
Further, the company agreed not to claim that an aptitude test necessarily qualifies a student for computer work.
In addition, Control Data agreed to bring in an outside arbiter to handle disputes between the company and students. The arbitration service would be permitted to order company refunds.
The proposed order, which was filed in federal court in Minnesota, will be available for public comment for 60 days. At that time, the FTC will act on the final complaint.