Summary of Action
In 2015, TINA.org investigated Walmart’s website and found that it was riddled with a variety of false and deceptive Made in the USA representations. Specifically, TINA.org found that Walmart’s website:
- Displayed USA labels, as well as specifications that indicated the products are made in the USA, for products that are actually made in foreign countries or contain foreign parts;
- Displayed USA labels that conflicted with information contained in the specifications for the same product;
- Displayed USA labels that, in some cases, did not clearly or prominently disclose important qualifying language that only a certain percentage (50%+, 75%+, or 90%+) of the product is made in the United States, or that the product is just assembled, but not made, in the United States.
TINA.org originally compiled 100 examples of such errors, as well as an expert report by a visual perception and Web interface specialist in support of its contentions.
As a result of these findings, TINA.org sent a warning letter to Walmart on June 22, 2015 alerting the company to the issues and requesting that it remove all false and deceptive USA representations from its website and other marketing materials. However, despite telling TINA.org that it was taking steps to ensure that the misrepresentations would be corrected and that it was also “undertaking a more extensive quality assurance review to eliminate these kinds of coding errors in the future,” Walmart made limited progress over the next three weeks. What’s worse is that, in July 2015, TINA.org found an additional 100 Made in the USA misrepresentations on the Walmart site. Accordingly, on July 14, 2015, TINA.org filed a complaint letter with the Federal Trade Commission requesting that it take action to halt Walmart’s false and deceptive marketing.
Following TINA.org’s complaint, Walmart removed the vast majority of USA labels from its website, without any official action from the FTC. In addition, the FTC investigated Walmart’s advertising and, after the company’s corrective actions, notified it that it would not be pursuing further action due to Walmart’s assurance that it had removed all U.S.-origin representations from its website.
As a result, TINA.org filed a complaint with the FTC on January 19, 2021 urging it to reopen its investigation of Walmart and take appropriate enforcement action.
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