FTC Examines “Made In USA” Claims For Guitars, Hangers And Doors – Media, Telecommunications, Computers, Entertainment
United States: FTC Examines ‘Made In USA’ Claims For Guitars, Hangers And Doors
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The Federal Trade Commission recently closed three investigations into whether traders have made false claims about whether their products are made in the United States.
The FTC’s enforcement policy statement on claims of US origin states that a merchant should not unreservedly claim that their products are made in the United States, unless they can prove that the products are “All or practically all” made here. The FTC also recently enacted a new Made in USA labeling rule, which codifies the standards set out in the Enforcement Policy Statement.
The FTC investigated whether KLOS Guitars’ marketing materials may have overestimated the extent to which some of its guitars are made in the United States. The FTC said that although the company designs and assembles guitars in Utah, the company’s guitars incorporate important parts. In a Dec. 15 closing letter, the FTC said that while it is appropriate for KLOS to promote the fact that it employs workers, including skilled luthiers, to design and assemble guitars in the United States, the Company marketing materials should not state that the products are made here, unless the company can substantiate that claim. (FWIW, luthiers are people who make stringed instruments.)
The FTC also investigated whether the marketing of the Neaties hangers overestimated the extent to which they were made in the United States. According to the FTC, although most Neaties plastic hangers are made here, Neaties also offers several lines of imported hangers. The FTC expressed concern that “the product inserts and banners on the Neaties website and Amazon storefront that read ‘Made in USA’ or ‘American Made’ were too large.” In its Dec. 15 closing letter, the FTC pointed out to Neaties that “Unless marketers specify which products are covered or directly link claims to particular products, consumers generally interpret claims that originate in the United States. marketing materials to cover
all products advertised in these documents.
And, in a December 15 closing letter to Origin USA, the FTC told the company it was concerned that Origin USA’s marketing materials had exaggerated the extent to which the company’s metal windows and doors. are made in the United States. Interestingly, the FTC didn’t raise – at least in the closing letter – any concerns about the name of the company itself.
The FTC continues to actively apply its “Made in USA” standard, and these letters highlight two areas of ongoing concern to the FTC. First, if you are talking about US based workers or processes, you need to make sure that you are not communicating a misleading claim that the product, as a whole, is made here. And, when making general “Made in USA” statements, it’s important to be clear whether you’re talking about all of your products – or just specific items.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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