Consumer News

UPDATE: Williams-Sonoma to Pay $3 Million for Violating Made in USA Order

Record-setting settlement comes after complaint.


Consumer News

UPDATE: Williams-Sonoma to Pay $3 Million for Violating Made in USA Order

UPDATE 4/26/24: Today, the FTC announced that Williams-Sonoma will pay a $3.17 million civil penalty for violating a 2020 FTC consent order by deceptively advertising multiple foreign-made products as “Made in USA.” The FTC said the civil penalty is “the largest ever in a Made in USA case.” Our original article follows.

Last month, got a tip from a consumer about a mattress pad advertised on Pottery Barn Teen’s website as “Crafted in America from domestic and imported materials.” The consumer said she purchased the mattress pad specifically because she did not want one made in China. But lo and behold, the so-called “Crafted in America” mattress pad that arrived was labeled “Made in China.” investigated and confirmed this surprise labeling.

“Pottery Barn Teen clearly hopes its customers will not compare advertisements with labels,” the consumer said.

But she did and thanks to her actions, which prompted to investigate and alert the company and the FTC, the product page now accurately lists the mattress pad as imported.

Consumer tip sparks complaint

Last week, filed a second complaint with the FTC urging the agency to reopen its investigation into Williams-Sonoma, the e-commerce giant that acquired Pottery Barn in 1985 and launched Pottery Barn Teen in 2003. Some of its other brands include Pottery Barn Kids, Rejuvenation and West Elm. Three years ago, to settle FTC charges that were brought following’s first complaint to the agency regarding false and deceptive U.S.-origin claims, Williams-Sonoma agreed to pay $1 million and to stop making false, misleading or unsupported made in the USA claims.

Violations of this consent order can lead to penalties of more than $50,000 per violation.

Williams-Sonoma, which received a copy of’s complaint letter last week, took prompt corrective action, removing the false “Crafted in America” claim and replacing it with “Imported” within hours of being notified.

Imported mattress pads falsely advertised as “Crafted in America” on were what initially drew the attention of the FTC, in 2018. The agency closed its investigation after Williams-Sonoma, among other things, represented that the false U.S.-origin claims were the result of an “isolated error.” But that argument crumbled to pieces a year later when found more than 800 examples of products marketed by Williams-Sonoma on its websites and social media platforms as made in the USA but which were either entirely imported or made with imported materials, including mattress pads and other bedding products on

In May 2019, sent a complaint letter to the FTC requesting that it reopen its investigation into Williams-Sonoma’s made in the USA claims and take appropriate enforcement action. Ten months later, the FTC filed its complaint.

What’s it going to take?

At a minimum, the process aimed at preventing deceptive made in the USA claims from appearing on its websites that Williams-Sonoma described to the FTC in response to its initial inquiry is broken. And a $1 million penalty – which equated to a minuscule 0.014 percent of the company’s annual revenue that year – along with the threat of additional penalties for future violations under the consent order, seems to have done little to fix it. relies on consumers to be its eyes and ears in the marketplace. But the job can’t be left to consumers, or for that matter consumer groups like That amounts to a game of whack-a-mole. Companies that repeatedly violate the law must be held accountable if the deceptive practices are ever going to end.

Read more about’s investigations into Williams-Sonoma here.

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