Cosy House Collection has falsely claimed that its “bamboo” bed sheets and towels are woven from real bamboo fibers, a proposed class action alleges.
The 22-page lawsuit states that textiles can be produced from bamboo either by directly weaving the actual fibers of the plant into fabric or by deriving other materials, such as rayon or viscose, from a bamboo plant source, typically by chemical means. Per the complaint, Federal Trade Commission guidelines dictate that only textiles directly woven from actual bamboo fibers may be lawfully described as “bamboo.” Alternatively, textiles woven from other materials produced from a bamboo plant source, known as bamboo derivatives, must be identified as “rayon from bamboo,” “bamboo viscose,” or a comparable description, given they contain no trace of the original plant, the suit says.
According to the lawsuit, Cosy House Collection “has made, and continues to make, deceptive and misleading Bamboo Claims to consumers” amid a pervasive, nationwide marketing scheme seen prominently across its website and those of retailers such as Amazon. The case states in a footnote that most “bamboo” textile products are, in truth, made of rayon, purified cellulose that is typically made by the use of environmentally toxic chemicals amid a process that emits pollutants into the air.
“Plaintiff and the Class read and relied upon Defendant’s online representations and advertising, namely the Bamboo claim, when they purchased the Product,” the filing says. “They also read such misinformation in paperwork and Product packaging received from CHC. Defendant’s multitudinous use of ‘Bamboo Claims’ manipulated consumer expectations, i.e. the essence of consumer deception.”
For advertising purposes, the terms “bamboo” and “bamboo fiber” convey to a reasonable consumer that a textile product has certain qualities, such as being thin and space-saving, natural and eco-friendly, antibacterial, highly absorbent, non-toxic and suitable for sensitive skin, the case states. Contrary to Cosy House Collection’s representations, its “bamboo” products are not only comprised of bamboo derivative fibers but contain undisclosed microfiber, a polyester and “well-known environmental hazard,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the case, Cosy House Collection has on its website a single disclosure of “bamboo rayon,” well short of formal FTC guidance on how to make effective disclosures in digital advertising.
“CHC’s bad faith and malicious intent is evident from its disclosure of rayon online under the Details link and the fact that, in its advertising on Amazon it discloses its sheets’ rayon content along with the Bamboo claim, on the same adjacent screen,” the lawsuit specifies. “The fact that CHC does not similarly disclose rayon content on its own website evinces CHC’s calculated deception of the public.”
The plaintiff, a Queens, New York consumer, claims to have only discovered that the bedding she purchased from Cosy House Collection was made of synthetic bamboo microfiber, and not 100 percent bamboo as represented online, after she received the product and viewed its tag.
The lawsuit looks to cover consumers in the United States who, within the last four years, purchased online, from any website maintained by Cosy House Collection, any textile product advertised as “bamboo.”
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