While the big news this month on the "Made in USA" front is that the Federal Trade Commission issued a new Made in USA Labeling Rule, the FTC did also close one investigation into a marketer's "Made in USA" claims.
For years, the FTC has routinely investigated, but most often hasn't taken any enforcement action, when it believes that a marketer has made an unsubstantiated claim that a product is made in the United States. These investigations have covered a wide variety of products, such as mattresses, bikes, glue, storage products, pet products, cycling products, and wipes, to name a few. Whether the FTC will continue with its regular routine of issuing closing letters and only bringing the occasional enforcement action, or whether the FTC will shift gears and start exercising its new authority under the Made in USA Rule, remains to be seen. But, with the issuance of the new rule, and with some recent big FTC settlements in "Made in USA" cases (related to promotional products and glue), all signs point to the fact that we should expect increased and more aggressive enforcement from the FTC in this area.
So, onto the FTC's "Made in USA" closing letter for June. Early last month, the FTC closed an investigation into whether Spa Nails Supply's marketing materials overstated the extent to which its spa pedicure equipment was made in the United States. The FTC said that while it was appropriate for Spa Nails to promote the fact that it employs workers and performs certain functions in the United States, the company's marketing materials should not convey that products are "all or virtually" all made in the United States unless the company can substantiate those claims. The FTC reported that, in order to avoid deceiving consumers, Span Nails removed U.S.-origin claims from all marketing materials and notified its dealers and staff about the change.
"marketing materials should not convey that products are 'all or virtually all' made in the United States unless the Company can substantiate those claims"