World breached Fair Trading Act with inaccurate 'made in New Zealand' labels

  • 26/10/2018
World breached Fair Trading Act with inaccurate 'made in New Zealand' labels
Photo credit: The Spinoff

Kiwi fashion label World has admitted it likely broke the law by selling clothing made overseas with labels that said "Fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande".

The phrase translates to "made in New Zealand", but the clothing had been made in either China or Bangladesh.

At the time World owner Denise L'Estrange Corbet claimed the message referred to the label and not the shirt itself.

"The World clothing tags that say Made in NZ are Made in NZ, so there's nothing misleading about this," she told The Spinoff. "The t-shirts do not state this."

On Friday the Commerce Commission said World has accepted the use of the tags was in fact a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

"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," Commissioner Anna Rawlings said.

World has agreed to ensure any clothing is labelled correctly in future.

It will be required to ensure:

  • no tag or labelling with the phrase "Fabrique en Nouvelle Zelande" is used on imported garments
  • compliance procedures will be implemented to ensure claims about the origin of products are substantiated and are not capable of misleading consumers
  • customers who return garments they bought under the impression they were made in New Zealand, but they were not, will receive refunds.

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," Cmmr 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."