Williams-Sonoma to Pay $3.2M for Violating FTC’s ‘Made in USA’ Order

Staff
By Staff
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NEW YORK (AP) — Home products retailer Williams-Sonoma will have to pay almost $3.2 million for violating a Federal Trade Commission “Made in USA” order.

Williams-Sonoma was charged with advertising multiple products as being “Made in USA” when they were in fact manufactured in other countries, including China. That violated a 2020 commission order requiring the San Francisco-based company to be truthful about whether its products were in fact made in the U.S.

The FTC said Friday that Williams-Sonoma has agreed to a settlement, which includes a $3.175 million civil penalty. That marks the largest-ever civil penalty seen in a “Made in USA” case, the commission said.

“Williams-Sonoma’s deception misled consumers and harmed honest American businesses,” FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said. “Today’s record-setting civil penalty makes clear that firms committing Made-in-USA fraud will not get a free pass.”

In addition to paying the penalty, the seller of cookware and home furnishings will be required to submit annual compliance reports, the FTC said. The settlement also imposes and reinforces a number of requirements about manufacturing claims the company can make.

Williams-Sonoma did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

In 2020, the FTC sued Williams-Sonoma on charges that the company falsely advertised several product lines as being all or almost all made in the U.S. under its Goldtouch, Rejuvenation, Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids brands. The company then agreed to an FTC order requiring it to stop such deceptive claims.

The complaint that resulted in this week’s settlement was filed by the Justice Department on referral from the FTC. According to the filing, the FTC found that Williams-Sonoma was advertising its PBTeen-branded mattress pads as “crafted” in the U.S. from domestic and imported materials — when they were made in China.

The FTC said it then investigated six other products that Williams-Sonoma marketed as “Made in USA” and found those claims to also be deceptive, violating the 2020 order.

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