If you engage in certain type of business, the percentage of U.S. made content of those products U.S. must be disclosed. This applies to products like automobiles, textiles, wool, and fur products. There’s no law that requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content. However, manufacturers and marketers who choose to make claims about the amount of U.S. content in their products must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy.
Which bring me to the reason why I am writing this blog – There are sleazy water treatment companies who prey on people who want to buy U.S. Made products, so they put a big MADE IN USA on the product they are selling, when in many cases, they know it is made in China or Taiwain.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin. Traditionally, the Commission has required that a product advertised as Made in USA be “all or virtually all“ made in the U.S.
For example, we sell some reverse osmosis systems not made in USA. We don’t say that it is made in the USA (because it’s not), but I can go to other websites and see a big MADE IN USA right by the product. To say that it is Made in USA is simply not true. It’s a lie! How do I sugar-coat that fact?
Manufacturers and marketers should not indicate, either expressly or implicitly, that a whole product line is of U.S. origin (“Our products are made in USA”) when only some products in the product line are made in the U.S. according to the “all or virtually all” standard. “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.
When a manufacturer or marketer makes an unqualified claim that a product is Made in USA, it should have — and rely on — a “reasonable basis” to support the claim at the time it is made. This means a manufacturer or marketer needs competent and reliable evidence to back up the claim that its product is “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.
A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the “assembly” claim to be valid, the product’s last “substantial transformation” also should have occurred in the U.S. That’s how we build most of our reverse osmosis systems – we do the final assembly right here in the USA with American Made filters, membranes and other products, but the fact of the matter is the housings and tanks are almost all made overseas. Even the best of the best reverse osmosis fittings and tubing are made by John Guest in the UK.
I hate to see people duped into believing something is MADE in the USA when that is just a lie! One online marketer of reverse osmosis systems says the following: Made in the USA. They even have a video where they state that their RO systems are made in the USA. The problem is that the tank, the filters, bracket, filter housings, most of the filters, faucet and fittings ARE NOT made in the USA. If you enlarge the photo of their RO system, you can read the label on the tank that says “Made in Taiwan.” What rubbish! In their case, “VIRTUALLY ALL” of their system is NOT Made in USA. I don;t know about you, but that makes me mad. In a perfect world, I wish all of our products were American Made but it is just not possible to buy a Made Made in America RO system unless the price is 2.5 times more than it is right now. We just tell you the truth, while some charlatans lie about it.
I urge you to report these types of violation to the Federal Trade Commission. Information about possible illegal activity helps law enforcement officials target companies whose practices warrant scrutiny. If you suspect noncompliance, contact the Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; (202) 326-2996 or send an e-mail to MUSA@ftc.gov. If you know about fraud, call Customs’ toll-free Commercial Fraud Hotline, 1-800-ITS-FAKE. Examples of fraudulent practices involving imports include removing a required foreign origin label before the product is delivered to the ultimate purchaser (with or without the improper substitution of a Made in USA label) and failing to label a product with a required country of origin.
You also can contact your state Attorney General and your local Better Business Bureau to report a company. Or you can refer your complaint to the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus by calling (212) 754-1320. NAD handles complaints about the truth and accuracy of national advertising.
The Lanham Act gives any person (such as a competitor) who is damaged by a false designation of origin the right to sue the party making the false claim. I am not going to let this type of deceptive and illegal activity continue and you shouldn’t either. When you buy one of their systems and see “Made in China” or “Made in Taiwan” on parts, you should report them and demand your money back.
I write this because everyday, I see competitors FALSELY claim that their reverse osmosis systems and UV lights are Made in USA. I seriously if there is ANY reverse osmosis system that is truly MADE IN THE USA. Many are ASSEMBLED here – including all of ours, but there are some parts that NO American Manufacturer makes. John Guest quick-connect fittings which are recognized as the “best-of-the-best” are made in the UK. I do not know of any American Manufacturer of quick connect fittings, so claims that RO systems are MADE IN USA are proven wrong on the fittings alone.
These sleazy charlatons are making false claims and preying on consumers’ ignorance and it’s time for it to stop! Come on you guys, what is wrong with you?