We’ve seen this before. A class-action lawsuit out of California over “Made is the USA” claims based largely on the fact that California’s laws are stricter on this regard than most anywhere else. Three California residents filed a proposed class-action lawsuit, claiming New Balance has sold hundreds of thousands of sneakers to California consumers that are misrepresented as “Made in the USA” when they include a “substantial percentage of foreign-made components.”
We’re not sure how three residents have been impacted by sneakers sold to “hundreds of thousands of California consumers” or why three think they can speak for hundreds of thousands of other customers, who may have willingly bought the shoes and not want New Balance sued, but that didn’t stop the lawyers and their plaintiffs.
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California, New Balance sales violate California laws including those governing false advertising and unfair competition
“New Balance publicly acknowledges it advertises that its shoes are Made in the USA, when domestic value is at least 70 percent,” the lawsuit states. “Put differently, New Balance admits that it has a common policy of advertising that its shoes are Made in the USA, even when up to 30 percent of the value of the shoes is attributable to foreign-made components and/or labor.”
New Balance said it has “worked diligently to be transparent in its consumer communications, including advertising, packaging and on its website, that where domestic content is at least 70 percent, the brand’s footwear is labeled Made in the USA.”
“The complaint brought forward today by the plaintiffs actually acknowledges New Balance’s extensive efforts in transparency,” the company said.
New Balance noted its five New England factories employ 1,300-plus workers who make shoes.
If the past is any indication, New Balance believes its language is not misleading consumers and that 70 percent satisfies customers’ expectations, and therefore will hold its position.