Commerce Commission to assess six complaints about WORLD t-shirt labelling before deciding whether to investigate

The Commerce Commission has received six complaints since yesterday about WORLD t-shirt labelling and says it'll assess the complaints before deciding whether to investigate.

WORLD founder Dame Denise L'Estrange-Corbet came under fire yesterday after a Spinoff investigation revealed clothing at the World store in Auckland was carrying tags saying "Fabrique En Nouvelle-Zelande" - French for "Made in New Zealand" - while actually being made up of elements manufactured in Bangladesh and China.

That’s despite Denise L'Estrange-Corbet previously criticsing competitors for manufacturing off-shore. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms L'Estrange-Corbet confirmed that the shirts were made overseas, as were the sewn-on patches, but defended putting "Made in New Zealand" tags on the clothing. She said it was not misleading because the tags themselves were made in New Zealand.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Commission says it cannot comment on the specifics of this case as it has not yet investigated the matter. 

However, the Fair Trading Act (FTA) prohibits traders from making misleading claims about the country of origin of its products, the spokesperson said. 

"If a company claims that a good is for example, 'Made in NZ', when it is not, that is likely to breach the FTA."

Separately under the FTA,  suppliers of new clothing and footwear must provide information to consumers about the country of origin of those products, the spokesperson added. 

The Consumer Information Standard for Country of Origin (Clothing and Footwear) Labelling includes a requirement that suppliers attach to the clothing a permanent label with the country of origin. 

The label must be in English, clearly readable and easy for the consumer to access. 

Sue Chetwin of Consumer NZ told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme the WORLD labelling practice is "deceptive behaviour".

"That is potentially misleading for customers because, although Denise says that is representing that the tag is made in New Zealand, no ordinary customer would think that," Ms Chetwin said.

"I think she's being a bit disingenuous.

"I guess the Commerce Commission now have got some complaints - they'll have a look at it," Ms Chetwin said.

Sue Chetwin says she doesn’t buy the explanation given by Denise L’Estrange-Corbet – that the tags themselves are indeed made in NZ. Source: Breakfast