A proposed class action challenges the “100% Pima Cotton” claim on the tags of various Polo Ralph Lauren-branded shirts.
According to the 10-page case, defendant Ralph Lauren Corporation has deceptively labeled certain shirts as “100% Pima Cotton” or “Pima Cotton” when, in truth, the clothing contains much less of the premium fiber than represented. The lawsuit alleges consumers have paid a premium price for the purportedly Pima cotton shirts based on Ralph Lauren’s false representations.
“Had Plaintiff and proposed class members known the truth, they would not have bought the Product or would have paid less for it,” the complaint attests.
The lawsuit relays that different types and qualities of cotton can be identified by their fiber length, with longer fibers producing a higher quality, softer and more durable fabric. Pima cotton, the suit says, has “extra-long” fibers of between 1.2 and 1.44 inches and is often associated with higher-end clothing that can be sold for a price premium. The lawsuit alleges the higher price of Pima cotton creates an incentive for clothing manufacturers to “mix cotton byproducts and shorter fiber cotton with Pima cotton to gain additional profits at the expense of consumers.”
According to the case, the plaintiff purchased a shirt labeled as being made out of Pima cotton at a Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s Factory Store in Orlando. The lawsuit alleges laboratory analysis performed in accordance with standards developed by the ASTM, a global standards body, of “substantially similar products” to the shirt purchased by the plaintiff has revealed that the fibers in the apparel were mostly or all shorter than 1.2 inches and 1.08 inches, or “below the range for Pima cotton.” The complaint further claims that even when the fiber lengths are adjusted by 25 percent, only about half of them can be classified as Pima cotton.
“These laboratory results support the strong inference that the Product is not made entirely from Pima cotton, but mainly from less expensive shorter cotton fibers and/or cotton byproduct fibers,” the complaint says.
According to the suit, no reasonable consumer would expect that clothing advertised as made from “100% Pima Cotton” or “Pima Cotton” would contain “significantly less” of the premium fiber than advertised.
The case adds that the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act requires the accurate disclosure of clothing’s fiber composition.
Per the suit, Ralph Lauren has sold more of the purportedly Pima cotton shirts, and at higher prices, than it would have absent the products’ deceptive labeling.
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