Target is breaking up with one of the world’s biggest textile manufacturers, claiming that the company was sending it sheets labeled as “Egyptian cotton” that were actually made with cotton of the non-Egyptian sort. That means refunds for customers who bought the bedding in question.
Target says it learned last month that 750,000 sheets and pillowcases supplied by Welspun India were labeled as Egyptian cotton, but were made from some other type, and pulled the items from its stores, Bloomberg was the first to report. Egyptian cotton has extra-long fibers that are associated with high quality products, which means some shoppers are willing to pay a premium for those items.
Starting today, Target has started notifying customers that they’ll get a refund on certain products under the Fieldcrest label that sold for as much as $75. The withdrawal only includes two lines of Egyptian cotton bedding, and not all Egyptian cotton sheets sold by Target are affected.
“One of Target’s vendors, Welspun Global Brands (Welspun), was one of the producers of Egyptian Cotton 500-thread count sheets under the Fieldcrest label for Target,” Molly Snyder, a company spokeswoman told Consumerist. “After an extensive investigation, we recently confirmed that Welspun substituted another type of non-Egyptian cotton when producing these sheets between August 2014 and July 2016. Neither Target nor Fieldcrest had any knowledge of this substitution. These sheets were produced by a number of vendors and only one of those vendors was substituting product.”
The company notes that this is “not an issue of safety and there is no risk in continuing to use this product.” Anyone who purchased the products from Target during that timeframe can submit a web form to request a full refund in the form of a gift card.
Target used to be Welspun’s second-biggest customer (Bed Bath & Beyond is its first-biggest), but those days are no more: the retailer says it will phase out all of its products from Welspun, though that process will take some time.
“We have informed Welspun that, due to this conduct, we are in the process of terminating our relationship with them,” Snyder said, calling it a violation of the company’s code of conduct as well as its standards of vendor engagement. “We value the trust that our guests place in us. The Target team will continue to work closely with all vendors to help ensure that the products we offer to our guests meet or exceed their expectations.”