Manufacturer Settles with FTC for Making Misleading Made-in-the-USA Claims

For Release

A manufacturer of magnifiers and other desktop and portable vision aids has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it falsely claimed its products were "Made in the U.S.A." The proposed settlement prohibits the company from deceiving consumers about the degree to which its vision-related products are made in the United States.

Enhanced Vision Systems markets computer- and television-screen magnifiers and other devices to enhance vision. Because several of the company’s products contain a significant portion of foreign components, the “Made in the U.S.A” claim is deceptive, according to the FTC complaint. According to the Commission’s 1997 U.S. Origin Claims Enforcement Policy Statement, for a product to be advertised or labeled as “Made in U.S.A,” the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States – that is, all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin, and the product should contain no (or negligible) foreign content.

The proposed settlement bars Enhanced Vision Systems from representing the extent to which any vision-related product or package is made in the United States unless the representation is true and not misleading. The settlement contains standard reporting and record-keeping provisions to allow the agency to monitor compliance.

The Commission vote to approve the administrative complaint and settlement agreement with the Huntington Beach, California-based company was 4-0. The FTC will publish an announcement regarding the agreement in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through August 18, 2009, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final.

Copies of the complaint, the proposed settlement agreement, and an analysis of the agreement to aid in public comment are available from both the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

NOTE: The Commission issues or files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the named parties have violated the law.

NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $16,000.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(FTC File No. 092-3010)

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707
 
STAFF CONTACT:
Laura Schneider
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2604