Walmart, Kohl’s to pay civil penalties to settle allegations of ‘deceptive’ claims of their products

Products falsely advertised as being made of bamboo, environmentally friendly, DOJ says


Alex Ciccarone, WPLG (FL)

May 6, 2022  


PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Walmart and Kohl’s agreed to pay a collective $5.5 million in penalties as part of a settlement related to accusations of deceptive advertising from the companies.


The Department of Justice announced in a news release Thursday that Walmart Inc. and Kohl’s Inc. paid $3 million and $2.5 million in civil penalties respectively in the settlement.


In complaints filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the government alleged that since 2015, Kohl’s and Walmart violated the Textile Act and Rules and the FTC Act by advertising products as being made of bamboo when the products were actually made of rayon and did not contain bamboo fibers.


“Kohl’s and Walmart are paying millions of dollars under the FTC’s Penalty Offense Authority for mislabeling their rayon products as bamboo,” Director Samuel Levine of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said.


The complaints also alleged that Walmart and Kohl’s made deceptive claims that their products supposedly made of bamboo were environmentally friendly, and that Kohl’s further claimed such products were produced free of harmful chemicals, when in fact rayon is produced using a chemical process that requires toxic chemicals and results in the emission of hazardous pollutants.


“False environmental claims harm both consumers and honest businesses, and companies that greenwash can expect to pay a price,” Levine said.


In 2010, Kohl’s and Walmart had both received letters from the FTC warning them that improperly advertising products made of rayon as bamboo violated the Textile Rules and FTC Act...