Lowe’s ordered to pay 2x4 settlement

A Marin County California judge ordered Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s to pay a $1.6 million settlement over a lawsuit alleging the inaccurate description of structural dimensional building products.

One upshot of the settlement is the intention of Lowe’s to include the actual product dimensions of 2x4 lumber (1.5 inches by 3.5 inches) along with the description of the product as a “2x4.”

The suit arose from a civil enforcement action filed by district attorneys of several California counties. 

"Consumers should expect when making product purchases that retailers are providing accurate information especially when misinformation could adversely affect building projects that more often than not rely on precise measurements," said District Attorney Ed Berberian.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb told HCN by e-mail that there are about 100 stores affected by the settlement. "Enhanced product signage and labeling is now on and in Lowe's advertising," she said. "And work is underway to update signage in California stores."

In a statement, Cobb added: "Periodically, representatives of local Weights and Measures departments visit retailers, and they expressed concerns about common product measurements, such as a 2x4 piece of lumber.

"These visits were initiated as a result of standards set by California's Division of Measurement Standards, which relies upon guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology concerning the sale of certain commodity products. 

"Historically, Lowe's provided information about product dimensions received from vendors. Moving forward, customers will now be able to locate product by actual and common dimensions as provided by vendors for certain building products. For example, for a piece of lumber commonly known as a 2X4, customers will see both the common name (2x4) and the actual product dimensions (1.5 x 3.5 inches).

"Both Lowe's and the California DAs agreed that a settlement is in the best interest of all parties. It allows us to continue moving forward with our program to provide both actual and common product dimensions and meet our shared goals."

The settlement was ordered by Marin Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson.