Williams-Sonoma on Monday agreed to stop making "false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims" that products from its namesake and Pottery Barn banners were all or virtually all made in the United States, according to a press release from the Federal Trade Commission.
The upscale home goods brand must pay $1 million to the FTC as part of a proposed settlement. Williams-Sonoma did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement.
The products in violation include Williams Sonoma's Goldtouch Bakeware and Rejuvenation-branded products, and Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids-branded upholstered furniture products.
The FTC, which investigates false claims from companies, said this was not the first time it cracked down on the home brand.
In 2018, the FTC said it received reports that a Pottery Barn advertisement for organic mattress pads claimed the products were "Crafted in America from local and imported materials." It turns out, though, that the product was made in China, according to the FTC. The company obliged and corrected the product's displayed country of origin.
However, since the Commission issued a letter closing the investigation on June 13, 2018, Williams-Sonoma has found itself being investigated again for misleading claims.
"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," Andrew Smith, the director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, said in a statement. "When a company falls short, we will hold it accountable."
While the brand made broad claims that the products were made in the U.S., according to the complaint, they were wholly imported or "contain significant imported materials or components."
Williams-Sonoma has agreed to not make unqualified claims regarding U.S.-made products, unless it can prove that the product's final assembly and processing (and all significant processing) takes place in the U.S., according to the proposed order. In order to claim a product is U.S.-assembled, the brand must show that a product was last substantially changed and principally assembled in the United States, and that United States assembly operations are substantial.