New Balance proudly presents its “Made in USA” and “Made in UK” sneaker lines as its highest level of craftsmanship, but a proposed class action lawsuit alleges the former constitutes an act of false advertising. Six men filed the lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court last week and accused New Balance of “continuing[ing] knowingly make these false claims because consumers are willing to pay more for products that they believe are in fact made in the United States ”, according to Fashion law.
Federal Trade Commission regulations state that in order to be marketed or labeled as manufactured in the United States, a product must be “all or substantially all” made in the country, and all qualifications must be clearly labeled. The lawsuit claims, however, that “up to 30 percent” of the affected New Balance sneakers are made up of imported parts or are produced using foreign labor.
New Balance makes a small disclaimer on its website and on the underside of its packaging, but the lawsuit argues that “no reasonable consumer would expect the fine print on the underside of packaging or hidden in various places on a website contains language incompatible with representations that the sneakers were “Made in the USA”.
It could come from the soles – The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against New Balance seek damages as well as a court order certifying the class action. Specifically, the lawsuit accuses New Balance of breaching the express warranty, unjust enrichment and fraud. He also alleges that the company violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which covers warranties on consumer products, as well as trade or unfair competition laws in several states.
As proof of its assertions, the prosecution refers to a report by the the Wall Street newspaper however, New Balance sources its soles from two Chinese companies. The complainants, as any sneaker enthusiast would say, then assert that the soles are “an important aspect of the shoe” and “not far enough from the manufacturing process to be of little importance”.
In response to the lawsuit, a New Balance spokesperson said TFL that the company “takes pride in our long-standing commitment to domestic manufacturing – it is a treasured part of our heritage and culture,” adding that “New Balance seeks to be transparent in all communications with consumers, making it clear that where the national value is at least 70%, the brand’s shoes are labeled Made in USA.