Consider those three little words that many people long to hear. “I love you?” No. This is the Business Blog and that would be weird. We’re talking about “Made in USA.” A proposed FTC settlement – including a financial judgment – with a marketer of promotional products reminds companies of the need to substantiate their Made in USA representations.
Blog Posts Tagged with Made in USA
If your clients are interested in Made in USA issues – and you know they are – there are two developments at the FTC they need to know about.
If your company has made misleading Made in USA claims and represents that the inaccuracies have been corrected, it’s unwise to put ongoing compliance on the back burner. Conduct like that can move an advertiser out of the frying pan and into the fire. Case in point: the FTC’s proposed complaint alleging that kitchen and home notable Williams-Sonoma falsely represented its signature bakeware line as Made in USA.
How do consumers interpret “Made in the USA” and other U.S.-origin claims? What can the FTC do to improve its enforcement program? Those are just two of the topics on the table at today’s Made in the USA workshop. FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith will start the discussion at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. It promises to be a fast-paced, content-packed half-day event. Minutes before the start time, you can watch the webcast live from the workshop webpage.
We like to think of September 26th as a notable date in consumer protection history. On that day in 1914, the Federal Trade Commission opened its doors. And on that day in 2019, the FTC will convene a workshop on Made in the USA claims.
When a company settles a case with the FTC, it’s not just water under the bridge. An FTC administrative order includes provisions designed to prevent similar deceptive or unfair practices in the future – and violations of those orders may result in civil penalties. The FTC just announced a proposed settlement with Georgia-based iSpring Water Systems for violating a 2017 order related to the company’s Made in USA claims.
Steely Dan may be one of the best duos of the rock era. (Sorry, Donnie and Marie fans.) Their song “Hey Nineteen” reminds us to mention some FTC consumer protection developments that could be of interest to your company or clients in 2019. As “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” when you’re “Reelin’ in the Years” – or at least recapping the past one – consider this non-exhaustive and in-no-particular-order case compilation.
In the annals of film, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Casablanca are among our top picks. But don’t expect our list to include TBX-FREE, Eupepsia Thin, or Prolongz, dissolving strips of film the FTC says California-based Redwood Scientific deceptively advertised for smoking cessation, weight loss, and male sexual performance.
The FTC just announced a Made in USA hat trick: two proposed settlements and a final order arising from allegedly deceptive claims by a New York hockey puck seller, a California-based backpack business, and an online mattress company. The message for marketers? Given the importance of country-of-origin representations to many consumers, companies can expect the FTC to call offsides on misleading Made in USA claims.
Here’s the thing about nectar. It can be sweet, but sticky. People who paid Palo Alto-based Nectar Brand LLC for mattresses labeled “Designed and Assembled in the USA” thought they were getting a sweet deal. In fact, buyers were stuck with mattresses imported from China, already completed. The company, which also uses the names Nectar Sleep and DreamCloud, performed no assembly operations in the United States.
As the saying goes, some people wear their hearts on their sleeve. And many consumers who feel strongly that “American Made Matters” wear their hearts on their head.
So you’ve received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission related to a consumer protection matter. Now what? We appreciate that it can be daunting for any company – especially a small business – and we want to be as transparent as possible about the process.
According to a settlement announced by the FTC, a Texas-based company used misleading Made in USA claims to push its pulleys. Read on for an ironic object lesson related to a specific pulley component engraved with the phrase “Made in USA.”
For consumers in the market for a water filtration system, the choices can leave them feeling drenched. So when deciding among competing products, a claim that a particular system is “Proudly Built in the USA” may turn a browser into a buyer. But an FTC lawsuit against iSpring Water Systems alleges that the company’s “Built in USA” claims were all wet.
The phrase is only nine letters long, but for many consumers, it makes the difference between a product in the shopping basket and one left on the shelf. It’s “Made in USA” and the FTC just announced a settlement of its lawsuit against Chemence, Inc., for misleading Made in USA claims. If your company makes similar representations, is it time for a compliance check?
Why do so many companies advertise their products as “Made in the USA”? Because they know that for a lot consumers, it’s an important attribute that may affect their choice of what to buy. The FTC has filed suit alleging that Chemence, Inc., falsely claimed that certain of its glue products were “Made in the USA” – or even “Proudly Made in the USA.”
Two products sit side by side on the store shelf, but only one says “Made in USA.” For many consumers, that’s an important consideration in deciding what to buy. That’s why the FTC wants to make sure companies’ Made in USA claims – like all objective product representations – are true and backed by appropriate evidence. We asked FTC attorney Julia Ensor some of the questions we’ve heard from businesses about Made in USA claims.
Does my company have to disclose U.S. content on products we sell in the United States?
There sure are a lot of seals out there. The British singer. The Navy special ops unit. The aquatic mammal. But the seals that matter to the FTC are certifications that convey representations consumers might not be able to evaluate for themselves. If your company makes Made in the USA claims, you’ll want to “Get Closer.” (And yes, that was a hit by 70s folk rockers, Seals and Crofts.)
There are lots of nifty phone accessories, bottle holders, tow straps, pet items, and lanyards out there. So a label that says the product is Made in the USA may help make the decision for some consumers. When it bears the American flag and says “TRULY MADE IN THE USA,” that just might seal the deal. But according to an FTC lawsuit, a lot of the “Made in the USA” merchandise touted by Logan, Utah-based E.K.