Pelle Pelle, Inc., a Michigan-based clothing importer which sells men's and women's sportswear items under the Pelle label, has agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it put improper care labels on several styles of men's pants and jackets. These garments were labeled for machine washing or drycleaning, but, according to the FTC, were damaged when drycleaned. The garments were made of "flocked" fabric (fabric with small pieces of fiber glued to the surface of the fabric to give it a velour-like appearance). The FTC alleged that when they were drycleaned, the adhesive on the flocking dissolved, resulting in the disintegration of the flocking.
The Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers of textile wearing apparel to provide permanent care labels describing how to care for the apparel. If the label includes a drycleaning instruction, the Rule requires that it must also state at least one type of solvent that may be used safely unless all commercially available types of solvents can be used. The FTC charged that Pelle Pelle violated the Rule by recommending drycleaning, but failing to specify a solvent when all commercially available types of drycleaning solvent could not be used safely. In addition, the FTC charged Pelle Pelle with failing to have, prior to sale, a reasonable basis for the care information disclosed to purchasers on the care label, as required by the Rule. The proposed consent decree, in addition to requiring Pelle Pelle to pay a $40,000 civil penalty, would prohibit it from future violations of the Care Labeling Rule and would require it to maintain and make available to FTC staff for five years, records of its care instructions and the reasonable basis for those instructions. The settlement also contains various other recordkeeping requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendant's compliance. The Commission vote to refer the complaint and proposed consent decree to Department of Justice for filing was 5-0. They were filed on February 4, 2003, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, by DOJ at the request of the FTC. The proposed consent decree is subject to court approval.
(FTC File No. 022 3002)
(Civil Action No. 03-70458)