4 US Companies falsely claimed their goods were “Made in the USA”, $0 in fines paid.

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According to the New York Times – four companies violated Federal Law by engaging in “unfair or deceptive acts” and false claims that their goods were “Made in the USA”.

The companies and violations include –
(1) Hockey puck manufacturer falsely claims their pucks were made in the US.
(2) California mattress maker falsely claimed there mattresses were “designed and assembled in the U.S.A.”
(3) California-based manufacturer of tactical gear and other merchandise falsely claimed their products were Made in the USA or American made.

Despite the false claims, the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) found all four companies violated federal law, but did not punish the firms. No fines were issued and neither company was required to admit wrongdoing or notify customers of their false marketing.

Democrat lawmakers urged the President to get more tough on manufacturers who falsely label goods as made in America. In response, FTC officials indicated the threat of future penalties was an adequate deterrent as companies face a $40,000 penalty per violation if making any further false claims.

If you have any questions whether your goods qualify as “Made in the USA” or are under FTC investigation, contact experienced trade and customs attorney, David Hsu by cell/text: 832.896.6288 or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com / dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Pennsylvania-based hat company settles with FTC regarding deceptive “Made in USA” claims.

American Made Matters

Screenshot of their “American Made Matters” logo from their website: http://www.americanmadematters.com


According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) press release on January 23, 2018, Pennsylvania-based Bollman Hat Company (wholly-owned subsidiary of SaveAnAmericanJob, LLC) settled with the FTC regarding the use of their “American Made Matters” certification and marketing materials.

The FTC complaint initially claimed the Bollman Hat Company deceived consumers with “Made in USA” claims for their hats and other products. In addition to the “Made in USA” claims, the hats were marketed with other taglines such as “American Matters,” “Choose American,” and “Made in USA since 1868.”

However, the FTC found that 70 percent or more of their hat styles are imported as finished products. The complaint alleged the remaining styles contained significant amounts of imported content. Claiming “Made in USA” is a high standard that is not met by most manufacturers. In order to avoid FTC issues, some manufacturers qualify their “Made in USA” claims with additional language such as – “Made in USA from domestic and foreign components” or “Assembled in the USA”.

Also according to the FTC complaint, the Bollman Hat Company used an “American Made Matters” seal on their products, and also licensed that “American Made Matters” seal to any company that claimed they had a US based manufacturing factory. The Bollman Hat Company also charged a $99 per year licensing fee and also required manufacturers to certify that at least 50% of the cost of their products was incurred in the US with final assembly or substantial transformation in the US.

As part of their settlement with the FTC, Bollman and subsidiaries are no longer able to make US origin claims for their products unless they can show final assembly or processing takes place in the US. Under the FTC order, any qualified Made in USA claims must include a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients, and/or processing.

For the past year, the FTC has increased prosecution of deceptive “Made in USA” claims as the Bollman case is the third case in the past year.

There will be a public comment period through February 23, 2018 before the FTC order becomes final.

If you have any questions regarding whether your manufactured good is “Made in USA” , deceptive claims, any other “Made in the USA” issue; or wish to file comments with the FTC, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Consultations are free and all calls and emails are confidential.