California-based consumer retail company Williams-Sonoma, Inc agreed to pay $1 million in fines to the Federal Trade Commission following a 2-year investigation into false “Made in USA” claims.
The company, which owns several popular brands including Pottery Barn and West Elm, heavily advertised “Made in America” on its website and email marketing. According to the FTC’s complaint, several of the company’s product lines, including Pottery Barn Kids and Goldtouch Bakeware products, were wholly or largely imported, making their “Made in USA” claims false or misleading.
“Many of us want to buy products that are made in the USA, and we trust companies like Williams-Sonoma to tell us the truth,” director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, Andrew Smith, said. ”When a company falls short, we will hold it accountable.”
This is positive news for genuinely America-made companies because it is the first time that the FTC has issued a financial penalty against a company using false “Made in USA” claims. If the agency continues to punish fraudulent claims, there will be a bright future for brands that are truly “Made in USA”.