Clothing retailer WORLD has admitted NZ-made tags used on imported clothing it sold risked misleading consumers about what they were buying.
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The retailer labelled garments that were made in China and Bangladesh with tags reading “Fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande”, which translates as “made in New Zealand”.
In court enforceable undertakings signed with the Commerce Commission, WORLD has agreed to refund customers who return the wrongly labelled garments.
It also agreed not to use the phrase “Fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande” on imported clothing and ensure claims it makes about the origin of its products are accurate.
The Fair Trading Act makes it an offence to mislead consumers about the country of origin of a product.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said labelling, imagery and packaging must not give consumers the misleading impression about where a product is made.
“New Zealand-made products can sometimes attract a price premium when compared with similar products made overseas and their purchase can represent an important ethical choice for some consumers,” she said.
“The truthfulness of information about country of origin is particularly important because consumers cannot check the accuracy of this kind of labelling for themselves.”
WORLD estimates just over 1100 imported T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants were for sale in retail stores with the “Fabrique en Nouvelle Zelande” tag. The items were for sale from 2009 to May 2018.
Commissioner Rawlings said that although another label was stitched inside each garment with the correct country of manufacture, this may not have been noticed and may have confused consumers who read the label and saw it was inconsistent with the tag.
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