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Class Action Lawsuit Challenges New Balance Made in USA Claims

The plaintiffs contend that New Balance has been able to overcharge consumers for the allegedly mislabeled shoes. According to the lawsuit, consumers are more inclined to purchase American-made products and will pay a premium for them.

April 4, 2018

Three Southern California consumers have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against New Balance, challenging the company’s claim that its tennis shoes are completely Made in the USA.

Plaintiffs Sheila Dashnaw, William Meier, and Sherryl Jones allege that Massachusetts-based New Balance has sold hundreds of thousands of pairs of shoes throughout California based on the misrepresentation that these shoes are “Made in the USA,” when in actuality the shoes are comprised of a substantial percentage of foreign-made components.

“New Balance publicly acknowledges it advertises that its shoes are Made in the USA when domestic value is at least 70 percent,” the state complaint said. “Put differently, New Balance admits that it has a common policy of advertising its shoes are Made in the USA even when up to 30 percent of the value of the shoes is attributable to foreign-made components or labor.”

In their 49-page complaint, the plaintiffs say they and other California consumers purchased the New Balance Made in the USA labeled shoes because they reasonably believed the shoes were American-made.

Instead, they claim a significant part of the materials and labor in New Balance shoes are derived from countries such as China. As a result, the plaintiffs and other consumers were deceived and suffered economic injury.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs contend that New Balance has been able to overcharge consumers for the allegedly mislabeled shoes. According to the lawsuit, consumers are more inclined to purchase American-made products and will pay a premium for them.

New Balance, the lawsuit states, is well aware of this, and it intentionally disseminates deceptive Made in the USA claims in order to capitalize on consumers favoring American products.

“Made in the USA labeled shoe models range in price from $164.99 to $369.99, while New Balance sells many shoe models that are not advertised as Made in the USA for less than $100,” the lawsuit said.

In fact, the lawsuit contends that the Made in the USA claim is a central aspect of New Balance’s marketing campaign and brand recognition, even boldly advertising on its website “MADE IN AMERICA MATTERS” and “New Balance always has, and always will be, committed to making shoes in the U.S. Join us and thousands of other American Makers who understand that making things here matters.”

Additionally, on YouTube, there are several videos produced by New Balance in which the company touts the fact that its shoes are American-made and creates the general impression that all of its shoes are Made in the USA.

The consumers are bringing this action on claims New Balance is in violation of numerous state consumer protection laws including California’s False Advertising Law Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, among other claims.

They are seeking to represent a certified Class of California consumers who purchased any New Balance shoes labeled or advertised as Made in the USA at any time beginning four years prior to the filing of the action.

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Tags:   US Manufacturing News    New Balance    Made in USA    Lawsuit    Class Action
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