Alyce Designs Inc. and two corporate officers have agreed to pay a $36,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the Care Labeling Rule by selling wedding gowns with care labels provided by Continental Gown Cleaning Service, Inc., that falsely stated that the drycleaner's "Zurcion" method was the only way to clean the gowns. In July of this year, the Commission settled similar charges against two other wedding gown manufacturers, Mori Lee, Inc. and Ilissa Bridals, Ltd.
The complaint against Alyce Designs, Inc., Alyce Hamm and Jean Paul Hamm was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 20, 1998. The complaint alleged that Alyce Designs violated the Care Labeling Rule by using Continental’s labels, which failed to state at least one type of solvent that may be used to clean the wedding gowns. In addition, the complaint alleged that Alyce Designs did not have a reasonable basis for instructing that the gowns can be adequately cleaned by the Zurcion method and for warning that the gowns cannot be cleaned by any other method of drycleaning or by washing.
The Care Labeling Rule, which has been in effect since 1972, requires manufacturers and importers of clothing to attach care labels that state what regular care is needed for ordinary use of the garment. For this reason, care labels usually specify either a washing instruction or a dry cleaning instruction. The FTC alleged that Continental’s labels violate the rule because they fail to provide adequate instructions for drycleaning these garments. The labels fail to state at least one type of solvent that may be used on the gowns and fail to explain how the normal drycleaning process must be modified for these delicate garments.
In addition to paying a civil penalty, as part of the settlement the company is prohibited from violating the Care Labeling Rule in the future and is required to notify retail stores that its gowns may be cleaned by methods other than the Zurcion method.
The Commission vote to approve the consent decree with Alyce Designs was 4-0. The consent decree with Alyce Designs was filed at the FTC’s request by the Department of Justice in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on December 11, 1998.
NOTE: Consent decrees are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. They have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint against Continental Gown are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and copies of the complaint and consent decree against Alyce Designs and the complaints and consent decrees with Ilissa Bridals and Mori Lee are available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File Nos. Alyce X980082, Ilissa X980079, Mori Lee X980076)
(Civil Action Nos. Alyce 98C 4403, Ilissa 98CIV.5129, Mori Lee 98CIV.5130)