FTC Enforcement of Sporting Goods Bearing False “Made in the USA” Claims
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a press release on the enforcement of sporting goods bearing false “Made in the USA” claims.
In two Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cases, companies selling hockey pucks and companies selling recreational and outdoor equipment agreed to stop making false “Made in USA” claims.
Four related Farmingdale, New York-based companies doing business as Patriot Puck, and their officer, have agreed to stop making false claims that the hockey pucks they sell are all, or virtually all, made in the United States (US).
Also, two commonly controlled California companies that sell recreational and outdoor equipment have agreed to stop making false, misleading, and unsupported “Made in USA” claims about their products.
In the Patriot Puck matter, the FTC’s complaint alleges Patriot Puck markets hockey pucks — through its website, patriotpuck.com, and elsewhere online — to customers throughout the US. According to the complaint, Patriot Puck’s claims in its advertising, packaging and promotional materials include “Made in America,” “Proudly Made in the USA,” “100% American Made!” and “The only American Made Hockey Puck!”
The FTC alleges that, in fact, Patriot Puck’s hockey pucks are wholly imported from China.
In the matter involving California companies Sandpiper of California, Inc., and PiperGear USA, Inc., the FTC’s complaint alleges that the companies claimed in advertisements, product labels and promotional materials, and on company websites and social media, that their backpacks, travel bags, wallets and other products are all or virtually all made in the US.
But more than 95% of Sandpiper’s products are imported as finished goods and approximately 80% of PiperGear’s products either are imported as finished goods,or contain significant imported components. According to the complaint, in some wallets imported as finished goods, the companies hid truthful country-of-origin information on the back of tags and inserted cards that prominently displayed false US origin claims.
Sandpiper and PiperGear market their products — which also include tactical gear and personal security items — throughout the US. Much of their allegedly false promotional material appeals to consumers’ patriotism. For example, Exhibit D is a Sandpiper logo that includes an American flag and the claim “U.S. Made By S.O.C.” (Sandpiper of California).
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