The Federal Trade Commission today announced that Milady Bridals, Inc.-- a New York-based manufacturer of wedding gowns, bridesmaid gowns, and evening gowns -- has agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to settle charges that it violated the FTC's Care Labeling Rule by using labels provided by Continental Gown stating "Dryclean Only by Zurcion Method." In 1998, the Commission settled similar charges against three other wedding gown manufacturers.
In May 1998, the FTC issued an administrative complaint against the New York-based drycleaning operation, Continental Gown Cleaning Service, alleging that it violated the FTC Act by providing gown manufacturers and importers with care labels such as "Dry Clean Only by Zurcion Method."
According to the FTC, these labels did not comply with the requirements of the Care Labeling Rule and misled consumers by making unsubstantiated claims that gowns with those labels could only be cleaned by the Zurcion Method. In June 1999, the Commission accepted for public comment a proposed consent agreement with Continental Gown to settle these charges.
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. According to the FTC, the labels used by Milady violated the Care Labeling Rule because they gave a drycleaning instruction but failed to name a drycleaning solvent that could be used without damaging the gowns and failed to warn that certain modifications should be made to the normal drycleaning process for delicate gowns such as wedding gowns. In addition, the complaint alleges that Milady did not have a reasonable basis for instructing that the gowns could be adequately cleaned by the Zurcion Method and for warning that the gowns could not be cleaned by any other method of drycleaning or by washing.
Under the terms of the settlement, Milady Bridals and its president, Eve Muscio would be required to pay a $10,000 civil penalty. In addition, the settlement would prohibit the defendants from future violations of the Care Labeling Rule. The settlement would require them to notify retailers who sold their gowns in the preceding year that the gowns can be cleaned by methods other than the Zurcion Method. Further, the settlement contains various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring Milady Bridals' compliance.
The Commission vote to file the complaint and the proposed settlement was 4-0. The complaint and settlement were filed at the FTC's request by the Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on September 1, 1999. The consent decree is subject to court approval.
NOTE: Consent decrees are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the news release are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and copies of the complaint and consent decree are also available from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 1-877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); 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 No. 982 3188)