By Nathalie Voit
E-commerce giant Amazon settled a false advertising lawsuit filed on behalf of the cashmere industry over the company’s widespread marketing and sale of counterfeit cashmere products.
In November, the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) accused Amazon and U.S. seller CS Accessories LLC of falsely advertising and selling fake cashmere merchandise on Amazon’s platform in the U.S. and abroad.
The industry group said it tested “purported ‘100% Cashmere’ garments” sold by CS Accessories LLC on the retail site and found they contained no actual traces of cashmere. Instead, the items were entirely composed of much-cheaper acrylic, polyester, and other synthetic materials.
“CCMI and Amazon have resolved their dispute and look forward to collaborating to protect the interests of Cashmere customers, manufacturers, and sellers,” CCMI President Fabio Garzena said in a statement on Dec. 7, the day a trial for the case was scheduled to commence in Boston.
In response to the suit, the defendant CS Accessories is prohibited from advertising or selling products falsely labeled as ‘cashmere,’ CCMI stated in its release. Additionally, CCMI is not restricted from filing any further claims against Amazon in the future, U.S. District Court Judge William Young wrote in the order.
The lawsuit, filed in a Massachusetts federal court, alleged CCMI first notified Amazon of the fake cashmere products in 2019. However, the retailer failed to take any meaningful action after Amazon officials promised to remove the materially misrepresented products from their site. CCMI found more cases of mislabeled cashmere merchandise in 2020, including products falsely labeled “Made in Scotland,” the lawsuit said.
“Amazon expanded and increased its marketing and sale of the Purported Cashmere Garments, to the point where they now have a very substantial presence on Amazon’s websites,” the lawsuit claimed.
The international trade organization said in addition to imposing “real economic harm” on CCMI and its members, Amazon was tarnishing the reputation of the cashmere industry by selling knockoffs.
“A consumer has the right to expect that garments offered by an established retailer like Amazon will not be materially mislabeled and misrepresented in this way,” added Garzena.