Williams-Sonoma Fined $3.2 Million for Violating ‘Made in USA’ Labeling Order

Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma, a home products retailer, has been ordered to pay nearly $3.2 million for breaching a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) order regarding “Made in USA” labeling. The San Francisco-based company was found to have advertised several products as “Made in USA,” despite them being manufactured abroad, primarily in China. This action contravened a 2020 FTC order that mandated truthful disclosures about the origin of its products.

Williams-Sonoma

On Friday, the FTC announced that Williams-Sonoma had consented to a settlement involving a $3.175 million civil penalty, the largest ever in a “Made in USA” case. “Williams-Sonoma’s deception misled consumers and harmed honest American businesses,” stated FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Today’s record-setting civil penalty makes clear that firms committing Made-in-USA fraud will not get a free pass.”

The settlement not only includes the financial penalty but also requires Williams-Sonoma to submit annual compliance reports. It imposes stringent conditions on the claims the company can make regarding where its products are manufactured.

In 2020, the FTC initiated a lawsuit against Williams-Sonoma for falsely promoting its products under various brand lines like Goldtouch, Rejuvenation, Pottery Barn Teen, and Pottery Barn Kids as predominantly made in the USA. The company subsequently agreed to an FTC order to cease such misleading claims.

This recent complaint leading to the settlement was lodged by the Justice Department following a referral from the FTC. It highlighted that Williams-Sonoma advertised its PBTeen-branded mattress pads as “crafted” in the U.S. using domestic and imported materials, while they were actually made in China. Further investigation by the FTC into six additional products also revealed deceptive “Made in USA” claims, thereby violating the 2020 order.

Williams-Sonoma has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter.

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