Labeling a product "made in the USA" may appeal to a consumer's patriotism, but it better be true. A maker of iPhone accessories, bottle holders, lens cleaners, dog collars, leashes and other outdoor items agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for falsely promoting its products as "truly made in the USA," or as the FTC's Lesley Fair put it, turning its claims into a "Yankee Doodle Don't".
Utah-based E.K. Ekcessories directly sold its products on its website, ekusa.com, and through online sellers like Amazon and REI. "Our source of pride and satisfaction abounds from a truly 'made in the USA' product," the company said. But contrary to the company's claim, many of its products and components came from foreign sources.
For a company to make a "made in the USA" claim, "all or virtually all" of the product must have been made in America, including all significant parts, processing and labor, according to the FTC's 1997 origin claims law.
As part of the settlement, E.K. Ekcessories will discontinue the false "made in the USA" claims and pull all relevant marketing materials. Some products might even get stickers to cover the inaccurate claims. The company must also contact all its distributors who bought or received products between Jan. 1, 2010 and May 1, 2013 and provide them with a notice and copy of the FTC's order.
The commission voted 4-0 to accept the consent agreement package. This is the first FTC "made in the USA" case since 2009.