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Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom Face $1.3 Million Fine for Mislabeling Fake Bamboo

Photo: Stephen Ehlers/Getty Images

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Several big-name retailers are facing major fines for the way they've sold and mislabeled a product known as rayon as bamboo, Consumerist reports. Coming under fire are retailers Nordstrom, Bed Bath & Beyond, JCPenney and who owe the Federal Trade Commission a total of $1.3 million in fines.

The FTC reportedly warned the four retailers that what they were doing was illegal over five years ago and the retailers continued falsely advertising rayon in spite of these warnings.

Rayon is a material that has been transformed from plant cellulose into usable materials for clothing and objects using hazardous materials and is far removed from actual bamboo. However, each penalized party continued to advertise products made out of rayon as "bamboo."

In Bed Bath & Beyond's case, its subsidiary store Buy Buy Baby is also part of the problem as it sold swaddle blankets and bamboo napkins actually made out of rayon. This is particularly problematic when you consider most shoppers were probably seeking what the FTC notes is a green and natural product.

Nordstrom also sold dresses, socks, and tank tops specifically citing the use of bamboo in the title of products really made out of rayon. JCPenney can blame its troubles on private-label brands like Stafford that misrepresented rayon pillow shams as "bamboo."

As for individual sums each company has been ordered to shell out, Bed Bath & Beyond has to pay $500,000; Nordstrom $360,000; JCPenney $290,000; and $150,000. In addition to the fines, the companies also must clearly write out any product's fiber content in its description.