Williams-Sonoma settles on $3m penalty for violating ‘Made in USA’ claims

Home products company Williams-Sonoma will be required to pay a record civil penalty of $3.175 million for violating a 2020 Federal Trade Commission order requiring the retailer to tell the truth about whether the products it sells are Made in USA.

In a complaint filed by the Department of Justice upon notification and referral from the FTC, the agency charges that Williams-Sonoma listed multiple products for sale as being “Made in USA” when in fact they were made in China and other countries. The company has agreed to a settlement that requires them to pay the civil penalty, which is the largest ever in a Made in USA case.

“Williams-Sonoma claimed its products were made in the United States even though they were made in China,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “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.”

The FTC sued Williams-Sonoma in 2020, charging that the company advertised multiple product lines under its Goldtouch, Rejuvenation, Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids brands as being all or virtually all made in the USA when they were not. The company agreed to an FTC order that required them to stop their deceptive claims and follow Made in USA requirements.

The current complaint notes that the FTC became aware that the company was marketing mattress pads under its PBTeen brand as “Crafted in America from domestic and imported materials” when it was actually made in China. The FTC then investigated six other products the company advertised as Made in USA and found those claims were also deceptive in violation of the 2020 order.

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