If you ever wondered what the deal is with all those thread count promises made on every sheet you buy nowadays, this is for you. In the New Yorker there's a great article on April White, who sued - and won (okay, settled) - with Bed Bath and Beyond for thread count fraud.
Apparently April bought a set of expensive "800 Natural" sheets that felt scratchy:
Upon washing her new sheets, she was immediately disappointed. She said, “They just didn’t feel like I expected luxurious sheets to feel.” A lawyer friend encouraged her to have the bedding tested, so White sent them off to a lab that specializes in textile forensics. The verdict: her new “800 Natural” sheets were, in fact, mere 408s.
The class action suit is based on the discovery that BB&B has been DOUBLING their thread count claims (and their prices) because they've used multi-ply yarns in their threads. This means that a 400 thread count sheet made with 2ply yarn has been counted as an 800 thread count sheet. April's getting $2,500 and every BB&B 2ply sheet customer from August 1, 2000 to November 9, 2007 gets a refund or discount. It's worth a read.
>> Not Going to Take It Dept. Splitting Threads (The New Yorker)
(Re-Edited from 2008-01-25 - MGR)