New Balance “Made in the USA” Sneaker is 30% Made Outside U.S., Class Action Says
Per a proposed class action, New Balance promoted its walking and running sneakers as “Made in the USA” when up to 30% of the shoes’ individual components, including the soles, are manufactured outside the country.
Matthew Cristostomo, et al. v. New Balance Athletics, Inc.
FTC’s Definition of “Made in USA”
The lawsuit asserts that New Balance’s “Made in the USA” claim falls short of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) definition of the phrase, which requires that a product be manufactured entirely or almost entirely in America in order to be advertised like so.
As per the New Balance Made In The USA Sneakers Class Action Lawsuit, the FTC has cited New Balance for making deceptive representations but has continued to utilize the “Made in the USA” claim for its “MADE” shoe series, knowing that consumers are ready to pay a premium for sneakers made in the United States.
Had the defendant disclosed that the Sneakers were not “Made in the USA,” the plaintiffs and the Class members would not have purchased them or would have paid less for them, the complaint argues.
The following New Balance sneaker models were falsely marketed as “Made in the USA”:
- Made in USA 990v2;
- Made in USA 990v3;
- Made in USA 990v4;
- Made in USA 990v5;
- Made in USA 992;
- Made in USA 993; and
According to the suit, New Balance’s “Made in the USA” mark appears on the tongue of some of the shoes mentioned above, while others are shown on the company’s website’s “Footwear Made in the USA” collection page.
Additionally, the New Balance Made In The USA Sneakers Class Action Lawsuit notes that the boxes in which the sneakers are packaged contain the claim that New Balance shoes have been manufactured in the United States for over 75 years.
In summary, the complaint states that New Balance prominently displays the phrase “Made in the USA” on practically every chance — on the sneakers’ tongues and the shoe boxes.
According to the case, for a product to be labeled Made in the USA or to be claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifier or limitation, it must be all or virtually all manufactured in the United States. According to the suit, “all or virtually all” means that a product’s key components and processing must originate in the United States.
According to the lawsuit, imported and/or foreign labor accounts for at least 30% of each of the Sneakers, including the soles. According to the lawsuit, the soles of the New Balance sneakers are imported from two different Chinese companies.
New Balance Attempts to Circumvent
Further, New Balance attempts to evade the FTC’s “Made in the USA” standards by placing a small-print disclaimer on its website and packaging stating that the “MADE” sneaker line contains at least 70% domestic value.
According to the New Balance Made In The USA Sneakers Class Action Lawsuit, New Balance does not define “domestic value,” which means it is unclear how many of the sneakers featured on this page are manufactured in the United States.
Moreover, the complaint claims that the disclaimers are not displayed conspicuously in such a way that a reasonable consumer — one who purchased the Sneakers from a retail location — would be aware they exist.
The suit alleges that New Balance committed fraud and unjust enrichment, as well as violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the New York General Business Law, among other state laws.
Those who have purchased any of the questioned New Balance sneaker models listed in this article in the U.S. are expected to be covered by the lawsuit.
Editor’s Note on New Balance Made In The USA Sneakers Class Action Lawsuit:
This article informs you of the case against New Balance “Made in the USA” sneakers. A similar lawsuit was also filed against AllBirds.
Case Name & No.: Matthew Cristostomo, et al. v. New Balance Athletics, Inc., Case No. 1:21-cv-12095
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Allegations: 30% of the New Balance “Made in the USA” sneakers’ components are made outside the U.S.
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