NEW YORK — Starting Wednesday, J.C. Penney Co. says it will be offering refunds to shoppers who purchased certain towels and a comforter set though it still is unable to figure out whether they’re actual knockoffs.
Penney’s move marks the latest chapter in a controversy that has caught other major retailers like Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wal-Mart over whether one of India’s largest textile suppliers, Welspun India Ltd., has been furnishing retailers with knockoff Egyptian cotton products.
Target said in late August it was pulling items off store shelves and severing its relationship with Welspun after a probe revealed that the products were made of non-Egyptian cotton from August 2014 to July 2016. And other retailers launched their own probes.
But Penney said Friday that results from an audit were found to be “inconclusive” and therefore, it was unable to provide complete assurance that these products were made using 100 percent Egyptian fibers.
Penney said that the products “pose no safety concerns and are expected to provide long-lasting durability and performance,” but it’s giving concerned shoppers the option of returning the products under its store brand called Royal Velvet for a refund of the purchase price.
The items involved are Royal Velvet Egyptian cotton bath towels, which include the complementary hand towels, washcloths, and bath sheets in more than a dozen colors. It also involves the Royal Velvet 400-thread count Damask stripe Egyptian cotton comforter set, which include a matching sham in 12 colors.