I.B. Diffusion, L.P., a Chicago-based importer and dis- tributor of women's clothing and accessories, has agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it failed to state the appropriate cleaning method for certain types of garments, in violation of the FTC's Care Labeling Rule. The FTC alleged that the faulty care instructions resulted in damage to sequins, beads or other trim. The faulty care instructions also allegedly resulted in fading and bleeding. In addition to imposing the civil penalty, the settlement would prohibit I.B. Diffusion and its general partner, I.B.D. Acquisi- tion, Inc., from violating the Care Labeling Rule in the future.
The Care Labeling Rule, promulgated in 1971 and amended in 1983, is designed to help consumers and professional cleaners to determine proper clothing care. The rule requires clothing manufacturers and importers to provide care labels with instruc- tions for at least one satisfactory method of care necessary for the ordinary use of the garment. The rule also requires that the manufacturer or importer possess, prior to sale, a reasonable basis for the care instructions.
The FTC complaint detailing the charges in this case alleges that, in numerous instances over the past five years, I.B. Diffu- sion and I.B.D. Acquisition failed to provide adequate care instructions on the labels of their garments. The complaint also alleges that, in numerous instances, the defendants failed to have a reasonable basis for the care instructions on the labels.
The proposed consent decree to settle these charges, subject to federal district court approval, would require the defendants to pay the $100,000 civil penalty and would prohibit future violations of the rule. The settlement also contains various reporting requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the company's compliance.
The complaint and proposed consent decree were filed this morning in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago, by the Department of Justice at the FTC's request. The Commission vote to authorize filing was 5-0.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint and proposed consent decree, as well as the Care Labeling Rule, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
(FTC File No. 932 3031)
(Civil Action No. 95-C3047)