Summary of Action

For more than five years, TINA.org has been investigating Walmart’s website – Walmart.com – and its continuing use of false and deceptive Made in the USA representations. A summary of each of TINA.org’s individual investigations of the website is below. Click on each year to expand for details.

+ 2015 Investigation

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.

+ 2016 Investigation

One year later, in 2016, TINA.org reinvestigated the Walmart website and found that it still contained Made in the USA misrepresentations, despite the company’s numerous assurances that it had fully corrected the issue last year. Specifically, TINA.org compiled a new sampling of more than 100 Made in the USA errors on www.walmart.com, bringing the total up to more than 300 Made in the USA misrepresentations catalogued by TINA.org. This prompted TINA.org to notify the FTC of its findings and urging immediate action.
+ 2021 Investigation

In January 2021, TINA.org reinvestigated the Walmart website and found that the company, through its American jobs initiative website portal, is still advertising products as being Made in the USA when they contain imported parts. Specifically, a search for “made in USA” on Walmart’s website leads consumers to its “America At Work” webpage, which contains numerous unqualified statements about the U.S.-origin of its products, and prompts consumers to “Shop Now” to “Find American-Made Products on Walmart.com.” The problem, however, is that some of the products listed upon clicking the “Shop Now” button do not meet the FTC’s definition of USA-made and/or fail to clearly and conspicuously disclose qualified claims. Specifically, TINA.org compiled a sampling of more than 40 products, which purportedly contain imported parts, according to hard to find origin information provided on the individual product listing pages, and some of which are accompanied by product specifications that confusingly state the origin of the product as “USA or Imported.”

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.

Check back for updates.

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