Williams Sonoma Fined for Made in USA Violations


The Justice Department, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), announced that Williams-Sonoma Inc.  has agreed to a settlement that requires it to pay more than $3 million in civil penalties and stop making false and misleading claims about the origins of its products.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the government alleges that home products company Williams-Sonoma, doing business as Williams Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, PBTeen, West Elm and Rejuvenation, violated an FTC administrative order that prohibits it from advertising wholly imported products and products containing significant imported content as “Made in the USA” in violation of the FTC Act and the Made in USA Rule.

In the stipulated order resolving this case, Williams-Sonoma admits the truth of the complaint’s allegations and agrees to pay a $3,175,387 civil penalty. The order also enjoins Williams-Sonoma from making misleading or unsubstantiated country-of-origin claims and includes recordkeeping and reporting obligations to ensure the company’s future compliance.

“The Justice Department will vigorously enforce laws to stop deceptive advertisers from making misleading and fraudulent claims to sell products,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Williams-Sonoma misled consumers by touting products as made in the USA when at least one of them was made in China. We will continue to work with the FTC to stop deceptive marketing practices like this.”

“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.”


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