Bamboo Clothing Company

Clothes by any other name: FTC challenges retailers’ “bamboo” claims

Perhaps “a rose by just about any title would smell as sweet, ” but deceptively describing rayon clothing as bamboo isn’t so sweet – and violates the FTC’s Textile Rules. Along with municipal penalties totaling $1.3 million, settlements with Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney Company, and advise another important point for industry members: Don’t ignore warnings about misleading advertisements and misleading labels.

How come this problem matter to customers? First, beneath the Textile procedures, consumers possess to understand what these products they buy are constructed with. Additionally, while textiles referred to as “bamboo” frequently are marketed as eco-friendly, the process for production rayon – even though it’s made from bamboo – can involve the usage harsh chemical compounds.

The FTC simply revealed the four settlements, nevertheless story extends back to 2009. That’s once the FTC brought a number of cases against other companies selling rayon fabrics falsely labeled and marketed as bamboo. In addition, we published a business alert advising organizations when a textile is not made right of bamboo fibre, don’t call-it bamboo. (in reality, there clearly was virtually no bamboo fiber in the marketplace, so the odds are tiny that an item really is made straight of bamboo fiber.)

We used up in January 2010 with letters to more than 70 businesses – including Bed Bath & past, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, and – caution them about mislabeling rayon fabrics as bamboo. Some businesses that obtained those warnings didn’t change their particular track, leading to settlements in 2013 with Amazon, Macy’s, Sears as well as its Kmart and subsidiaries, and Leon maximum, Inc. (maximum Studio). Because a word of warning hadn’t already been adequate, those cases included civil penalties totaling $1.26 million. That’s in addition as soon as the FTC issued an Enforcement plan Statement about the marketing sale of these and other textiles.

Police force activities, a business alert, caution letters, even more cases – nevertheless four newest things suggest that some organizations nevertheless didn’t have the message:

  • The complaint alleges the organization (sometimes through its buybuy BABY subsidiary) mislabeled lots of fabrics as bamboo, including “Aden + Anais Bamboo 3-Pack Muslin Swaddles” and “Bamboo Blend Napkins.”
  • In line with the issue, the organization marketed mislabeled services and products on the internet and with its stores, including a “Gypsy 05 Bamboo Racerback Hi-Lo Dress” and “Degree Six clothes – The Bamboo extended Sleeve Tee.”
  • The lawsuit charges that the business deceptively marketed services and products as bamboo, including “Muk Luks 4-pk Men’s Bamboo Socks.” The FTC also says the organization falsely stated bamboo provided the products anti-microbial properties.
  • The problem alleges that online store deceptively advertised items as bamboo, like men’s “Bridgedale Bamboo Crew Sock, ” sometimes with anti-microbial statements the FTC says were misleading.

Municipal penalties within the cases – $500, 000 from Bed Bath & past, $360, 000 from Nordstrom, $290, 000 from J.C. Penney, and $150, 000 from – are based on product sales and exactly how lengthy the violations continued.

Textile makers and stores usually takes five content emails from FTC actions.

1. Don’t call-it “bamboo” if textile is not made directly of bamboo fiber. Exercise care before marketing or labeling a textile product as bamboo. There is certainly which has no actual bamboo dietary fiber around, so be extremely skeptical if vendors inform you their textile products are “bamboo.” What’s more, take care not to convey expressly or by implication an environmental claim you can’t support with sound technology.

2. Look beyond the label. It’s crucial that your necessary dietary fiber content disclosures are precise, but your compliance responsibilities don’t end there. Some organizations seem to believe that when they modify their particular content disclosures to accurately read “rayon, ” they’re absolve to utilize the term “bamboo” in product games and explanations. That’s a mistake. If it’s maybe not made directly of bamboo dietary fiber, don’t call-it bamboo. Maybe not anywhere, no actual method.

3. Consult the FTC Enforcement Plan Report. We believe the 2013 Policy Statement offers a commonsense approach to worldwide offer sequence issues. From what degree can your business implement the treatments outlined in the Statement?

4. Don’t say you've gotn’t been informed. The four businesses that decided police force activities now all obtained caution letters this year. Those letters used a procedure outlined in part 5(m)(1)(B) associated with FTC Act for placing companies on observe that particular techniques are unfair or deceptive – in this situation, failing woefully to make use of correct dietary fiber names in labeling and marketing textile products. Under that portion of regulations, future violations committed “with real knowledge” that a practice is unfair or deceptive may result in civil penalties. Bed Bath & Past, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, and might have at first taken the caution to heart, but it performedn’t seem to stick. At some point, untrue statements crept back in their particular labels and adverts. But now, violations led to municipal penalties. In the event the organization got some of those bamboo caution letters this year, it is particularly crucial that you build compliance into the material of one's functions.

5. Scrutinize your stock for potentially deceptive bamboo claims. The FTC is delivering letters to other stores, asking all of them to test their particular stocks to make sure appropriate labeling and marketing of rayon textile items. As holiday shoppers make their listings and look them twice, retailers should think about just a little checking of one's own.

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