Walmart Still Deceptively Marketing Made in USA, TINA.org Reports Company to FTC (Again)
The retail giant is no stranger to problematic American-made claims. In 2013, Walmart launched its American Jobs initiative, promising a multibillion-dollar investment into products that support American manufacturing. Just two years later in 2015, a TINA.org investigation found that the company’s website was riddled with deceptive made in USA claims and reported its findings to the FTC. The agency closed its inquiry after receiving assurances from Walmart that it had cleaned up all false and deceptive made in the USA claims on its website and put in place procedures to flag any future misrepresentations.
Now Walmart is getting even bolder – trying to redefine the MUSA standard altogether. The company’s “Made in America” ad campaign has been airing on national television, promoted on social media, and is featured on an “America At Work” landing page on its website, suggesting that “made” in America means “produced,” “grown,” “assembled” or “sourced” in the USA. This definition is much broader than the FTC’s, which calls for products marketed as made in the USA or made in America to be “all or virtually all” made in the United States, meaning they contain no – or negligible – foreign content.
Furthermore, consumers using the “Shop Now, Find American-Made Products on Walmart.com” link on the landing page are led to another page that lists approximately 2,000 products that are – presumably – American-made. However, TINA.org’s investigation found a number of them, everything from foot cream to bath towels, do not meet the FTC’s unqualified made in the USA standard.
“Walmart’s history of deceptive Made in USA marketing claims on its website now spans more than five years and is exacerbated by consumers’ current need and desire to shop online during the global pandemic,” according to TINA.org’s executive director Bonnie Patten. “Obviously, as the world’s largest retailer, the company’s continuing failure to address these issues cannot be related to a lack of resources or sophistication.”
Interest in made in the USA products has only grown since Walmart first launched its American jobs initiative, particularly during the pandemic, which has raised supply chain and country-of-origin concerns among consumers. Based on its own data, Walmart claims that “Made in USA is a strong driver of purchase decisions – 2nd only to Price” and that “85% of moms said it is important for a retailer to sell “Made in USA” products.” And with the incoming Biden administration proposing a $700 billion “Buy American” campaign, rest assured that Walmart will continue to push products that it says are American-made, whether or not that is true.
To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of Walmart’s deceptive made in the USA marketing, see: https://www.truthinadvertising.org/tina-org-brings-walmarts-deceptive-made-in-usa-claims-to-the-ftc-again/
About TINA.org (truthinadvertising.org)
TINA.org is a non-profit organization that uses investigative journalism, education, and advocacy to empower consumers to protect themselves against false advertising and deceptive marketing.
For press inquiries contact: Shana Mueller at 203.421.6210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.