The Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute has reached a resolution in its false advertising case against Etsy.
The Boston-based global trade group announced Tuesday that it had come to an out-of-court agreement with the online marketplace, which it previously accused of advertising and selling products that were deceptively labeled as “100-percent cashmere” or simply “cashmere.” CCMI said that it tested products from Etsy sellers both in the U.S. and abroad and found that they were actually made of lesser fibers, from polyester to acrylic and other synthetic blends.
The complaint claims this violated both federal and state laws regulating false and deceptive advertising, false designation of product origin, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and other transgressions against the IP of others.
Fabio Garzena, president of CCMI, said the group is looking forward to “collaborating to protect the interests of Cashmere customers, manufacturers, and sellers” now that it has reached an understanding with Etsy. CCMI has long worked to maintain the integrity of the cashmere marketplace by providing important information about cashmere’s value as a high-quality luxury fabric, he said. It identifies reliable testing laboratories and pursues legal action against those that mislabel purported cashmere products, from fabrics to apparel items like sweaters and accessories like scarves, hats and gloves.
The legal dispute brought to light a number of IP and competition law issues related to the sale of misleadingly advertised products online, it said. CCMI U.S. representative Jim Coleman previously told Sourcing Journal that it hoped to see Etsy stop selling fake cashmere products on its U.S. and global sites by implementing systems to detect and deter fraudulent listings. A similar suit against Amazon was resolved in December 2021. CCMI said it had entered into an ongoing dialogue with the e-commerce giant about protecting the interests of the cashmere sector, including preventing bad actors from selling on its site.
Today, a search for “cashmere” on Etsy’s U.S. sites yields 110,139 results, ranging from scarves to socks, dusters, sweaters, hats, coats, rugs, yarns and fabrics, with prices ranging from under $50 to more than $28,000. Some less expensive items are labeled as “cashmere-like,” while many others are labeled “pure cashmere,” “100-percent cashmere,” or “cashmere-merino.” The items are listed for sale by global vendors, from the U.S. to India, the U.K., Canada, Turkey, Lithuania and China.