Williams-Sonoma admits labeling China products ‘Made in USA’ in $3.2M case

Williams-Sonoma admits labeling China products ‘Made in USA’ in $3.2M caseWilliams-Sonoma admits labeling China products ‘Made in USA’ in $3.2M case
via Clotee Pridgen Allochuku (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Carl Samson
26 days ago
Home products giant Williams-Sonoma has been fined a record $3.175 million for falsely advertising some of its products as “Made in USA” when they were manufactured overseas, particularly in China.
Key points:
  • Williams-Sonoma admitted to the allegations brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), court documents show.
  • The fine is so far the largest civil penalty in a “Made in USA” case.
  • As part of the settlement, the company is now subject to enhanced compliance measures, including clear disclosures about the origin of its products.
The details:
  • Williams-Sonoma Inc. operates under various brand names, including Williams Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, PBTeen, West Elm and Rejuvenation. Last year, it recorded $8.67 billion in sales with a $1.13 billion profit.
  • In 2020, the FTC charged the company with violating a previous order by advertising some of its products — including mattress pads and other items — as “Made in USA.” These claims were found to be deceptive as the products were actually made in China and other countries.
  • The company has agreed to a civil penalty of $3,175,387, the largest ever imposed in a case involving fraudulent “Made in USA” claims. The settlement also requires the business to adhere to several compliance measures, including making a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which any product with a qualified “Made in USA” claim contains foreign parts, ingredients, components or processing.
  • FTC Chair Lina M. Khan emphasized the negative impact of deceptive marketing in a news release:

“Williams-Sonoma claimed its products were made in the United States even though they were made in China. Williams-Sonoma’s deception misled consumers and harmed honest American businesses. Today’s record-setting civil penalty makes clear that firms committing Made-in-USA fraud will not get a free pass.”

  • Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said they will continue to work with the FTC to halt such practices.
 
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