Fashion label WORLD has accepted the Commerce Commission’s view that ‘made in New Zealand’ labelling on imported clothing was liable to mislead consumers.
The designer and retailer have entered into enforceable undertakings with the commission, agreeing to refund any customers who return the garments having bought them under the impression that they were made in New Zealand.
The label also agreed to no longer use 'Fabrique en Nouvelle Zelande' tags or labels on the imported garments and implement compliance procedures to ensure any claims about the origin of products are accurate and are not capable of misleading consumers.
The tags, translated as “made in New Zealand” were likely to have led consumers to think the garments were manufactured locally when in fact they were manufactured in China or Bangladesh, the commission found.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings says that although another label was stitched inside each garment with the correct country of manufacture, this may not have been noticed in many instances and may have confused any consumers who read the label and saw that it was inconsistent with the tag.
Under the Fair Trading Act, businesses are prohibited from misleading consumers about a product’s country of origin.
Between 2009 and May of this year, WORLD estimated it offered just over 1100 pieces of imported clothing that had the ‘Fabrique en Nouvelle Zelande’ swing tag.
The label said 99 per cent of the clothing it sold during the period was made in New Zealand.
“New Zealand-made products can sometimes attract a price premium when compared with similar products made overseas and their purchase can represent an important ethical choice for some consumers,” Commissioner Rawlings said.
"The truthfulness of information about country of origin is particularly important because consumers cannot check the accuracy of this kind of labelling for themselves."