When a company claims that its products are "Made in the USA," the products should really be made in the USA.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently drove home this point in a case against a water filtration system distributor in Georgia. The FTC entered a settlement with the distributor based on the FTC's claims that the company deceived consumers with false, misleading and unsupported claims that its water filtration systems were “Built in USA,” “Built in USA Legendary brand of water filter,” and “Proudly Built in the USA.” The FTC claims that despite these claims regarding the country of origination, the products were made overseas or mostly from parts that came from overseas.
Under the settlement, the distributor is prohibited from making “Made in USA” claims for any product unless it can show that the product's final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – take place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States. The distributor is also prohibited from making any country of origin representations about its products unless it has and relies upon a reasonable basis for such a statement.
The take away from this settlement is that origination claims matter. It is deceptive to claim that a product is made in the USA when it is not, and such an unsupported claim could subject a company to liability under the FTC Act or state consumer protection laws.