Sears accused of misleading public on Craftsman line
A lawsuit says the company wrongly claimed its tools were made in America. A California judge refuses to certify class-action status, but plaintiffs say they will appeal.
That issue is at the forefront of a claim that the company snookered consumers into believing that its famous Craftsman tools were made in the U.S. Sears has beaten back the lawsuit for now, but the battle appears to be far from over.
A California judge rejected an effort late last month to certify the suit as a class action. In his 42-page decision, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr argued that there were "serious problems" with the case and that it would be a "nightmare" to manage because there are 40 million potential class members, according to the National Law Journal.
Sears, which registered the Craftsman trademark in 1921, cheered the decision. But Barbara Hart, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the ruling will be appealed. In an interview with MSN Money, Hart said that her clients will seek certification under a narrower class definition.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling but as the matter is still pending, we decline to comment further," Sears spokesman Larry Costello wrote in an email.
Costello declined to say how many Craftsman tools were made in the U.S. and Hart, who filed suit against the retailer in 2004, isn't sure either. After the suit was filed, Sears took Craftsman tools off the shelves and blacked out the words "Made in America," she said.
Sears will not share records about where its Craftsman tools are made, but Hart said the company utilizes more than 130 Chinese manufacturers for the Craftsman line.
Craftsman has been one of the few bright spots for Sears in recent years as the retailer has struggled to compete against larger rivals such as Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT). The stock has slumped more than 20% in the past year. Sears not a bargain for investors, trading at more than double its average 52-week price target of $17.83.
According to a recent report in the New York Times, the "Made in the USA" label has grown in popularity because it is a "signifier of old-school craftsmanship." It's also hard to find in today's global economy. The U.S. trade deficit with China alone is about $232 billion.
--Jonathan Berr is long Target. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
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It is this easy. DO NOT PURCHASE CRAFTSMAN TOOLS.
It is this easy. DO NOT SHOP AT SEARS.
It is this easy. DO NOT SHOP AT WalMart.
It is this easy. DO NOT SHOP AT SAMS CLUB.
Is it that hard to understand?
Dont buy cheap chinese ****.
My entire working career, which began in 1956, I have never been helped by belonging to a labor union. Thankfully I have only been under the control of a labor union, once at GM and once at United Air Lines. Never once did I ever get any help from them. I agree that if the Labor Unions did not keep pushing for higher wages there would be more made in america products. True, at one time in history the labor unions were definetly needed but now they are a corrupt and devious at some of our politicians.
Fisherman commented that he had things produced overseas 40 years ago. I doubt that statement. considering the red tape he would have gone through to get his items imported and the cost that would have incurred. Government import laws and controls were completely different and strictly enforced. Availability for a new product would have been very long and would have huge import taxes and restrictions. An import would have to pass all USA stipulations, safety measures etc. 40 years ago, there was not an agreement on imports and exports as today. Just a comment of what I remember from that era.
customers claiming to have bought Sears Roebuck & Co.'s Craftsman tools under the mistaken belief that they were made in the United States
it does not say that had mislabeled tool..this article is like most media today written with alot of extra words that lead people to think something other than the facts...people that don't read and understand that is.. read ...at no time will you find this article say that Craftsman tool have marked any tool made in USA that was imported. no place .. some people have the mistaken belief that smoking cigs wont cause any harm...so as its been said there is no cure for stupid
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