Fashion Nova has settled a $1.75 million civil suit filed by the District Attorneys of Los Angeles, Alameda, Napa and Sonoma counties in California following charges the fast-fashion brand violated consumer rights by failing to comply with state e-commerce laws.
According to the initial complaint, filed last week, Fashion Nova failed to ship a number of orders within 30 days without taking required action—an e-commerce requirement in the state of California. As a result, the company has agreed to pay damages of $1.5 million in penalties along with $250,000 in restitution to the consumers affected by violations, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
“In California, orders placed over the Internet generally must be shipped within 30 days,” a posting filed by the office read. “If the company fails to do so, consumers must either be given a refund or receive a written notice about the delay. The content of these notices is regulated by statute and must include the expected duration of the delay and an offer for a refund upon request.”
As part of the settlement, Fashion Nova was served an injunction preventing further violations. Although shipping delays can of course occur without malicious intent, California law requires such delays to be acknowledged with commensurate action.
“Online shoppers should feel confident that the retailers with whom they do business will deliver what they promise when they promise, within the bounds of California law,” Napa County Deputy District Attorney Katy Yount, said. “This consumer protection action not only ensures that, but also protects retailers who expend time and money to play by the rules.”
According to the District Attorney of Alameda County, Nancy E. O’Malley, the purpose of such consumer protection law is to ensure fair treatment. Considering there is a delay between submitting payment and receiving a product, online orders are regulated under different statutes than brick-and-mortar sales.
“These types of consumer protection laws in California are on the books to make sure retailers treat their customers in an equitable and professional manner,” O’Malley explained. “When consumers place an order over the internet, they are entitled to receive the items promptly or get a legally adequate explanation why they haven’t.”
According to the report filed by the California counties, Fashion Nova “cooperated fully” with the investigation but has not admitted wrongdoing.
This most recent controversy comes at an inopportune time for the brand, as it was recently pegged in a New York Times investigation alleging the brand was underpaying workers in Los Angeles, with some workers being paid as little as $2.77 an hour, considerably lower than the local minimum wage.
According to the investigation, Fashion Nova could owe its workers upward of $3.8 million in unpaid wages.