San Francisco-based houseware and cookware purveyor Williams-Sonoma just got nailed with a $3.18 million fine for claiming that products were “Made in USA” when they were actually made in China, and it’s not the first time the company has done this.

It’s a fun fact that yes, the fancy houseware retailer Williams-Sonoma is named for wine country’s Sonoma County (founder Chuck Williams opened the company’s first store in the town of Sonoma back in 1956). But it's an even funner, and funnier fact that the San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma was just fined $3.18 million for claiming products were made “Made in USA” when they were not made in the USA, according to the Associated Press.  

This is reportedly the largest-ever civil penalty for falsely claiming that imported products were made in the United States. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the fine on Friday, and Reuters reports that the settlement was filed Monday afternoon in a San Francisco federal court.

“Williams-Sonoma’s deception misled consumers and harmed honest American businesses," FTC chair Lina Khan said in a statement to the AP. "Today’s record-setting civil penalty makes clear that firms committing Made-in-USA fraud will not get a free pass.”

According to Reuters, the FTC found six products listed on the Williams-Sonoma website that were labeled as “Made in USA,” despite that the products were actually imported. The commission also found that mattress pads for the spinoff retailer PBTeen were labeled as “Crafted in America from domestic and imported materials," though they were straight-up just made in China. (PBTeen is a division of Pottery Barn, which Williams-Sonoma also owns.)  

And it’s not the first time Williams-Sonoma has been nailed for similar false labeling. The FTC sued the retailer for similar misleading “Made in USA” advertising in 2020, which is why this fine is exceptionally large.

There is but one remaining Williams-Sonoma store here in San Francisco, next to the Apple Store at Union Square. The company announced they were closing that store in May 2023, though they’ve since updated that it will remain open until sometime in 2025. The Williams-Sonoma corporate headquarters is on Van Ness Avenue near Fort Mason.

Related: You Can Now Find Fnnch Honey Bears On Williams-Sonoma Dishware, Aprons [SFNews]

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