Can You Trust Wal-Mart’s ‘Made in USA’ Product Claims?

Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

For many Americans, a “Made in USA” label can often mean the difference between buying an item, or putting it back on the shelf.

Advertising watchdog group Truth in Advertising alleges that Wal-Mart mislabeled more than 100 items as “Made in the USA” on its website, when the products were actually made in China or other countries. Other products claiming U.S. origin only contained a percentage of USA-made components, or were assembled – not made – in the United States according to TINA.

TINA said it sent Wal-Mart a letter detailing the “false and deceptive” label findings. The June 22 letter specifically mentions Wal-Mart’s Equate store-brand makeup sponges, which it advertises on its website as “Made in the USA,” even though the product packaging states the sponges were “Made in China.”

“False made in USA labeling on Wal-Mart’s website has misled consumers looking to purchase American-made products,” TINA executive director Bonnie Patten said in a statement. “The largest retailer in the world should have made sure its American-made claims were accurate before affixing made in USA labels on the products. Until Wal-Mart cleans up this mess, consumers cannot rely on Wal-Mart with regard to where a product is really made when shopping on the site.”

Wal-Mart acknowledged the labeling errors, but shifted the blame to its suppliers. A Wal-Mart rep told Consumerist:

We are continually working to improve our website listings and information. We are undertaking a more extensive quality assurance review to help eliminate these coding errors. Based on our initial internal review, we believe these errors are limited to a small percentage of items and we are confident in the overall integrity of the information on our website.

What makes this issue even more interesting is that Wal-Mart has committed to buying $250 billion in U.S.-made goods in an effort to “create more American jobs by supporting more American manufacturing.”

“It’s incredibly disingenuous for Wal-Mart to be promoting their initiative to stock $250 billion [in] American-made products while at the same time they are in violation of FTC labeling standards for what qualifies as made in the USA,” said Michelle Amazeen, assistant professor of advertising at New Jersey’s Rider University.

According to the FTC, products that are promoted as U.S.-made must meet the “all or virtually all” standard. Typically, the FTC must receive a formal complaint from an outside party about a product’s questionable U.S.-origin claim before it investigates the potential fraud, Consumer Reports explains.

“Given the vagaries of ‘Made in the USA’ labeling,” CR said, consumers should be on the lookout for a product’s “Country of Origin” mark, which Customs and Border Protection require on all imported products. “It must be in a conspicuous place where it can be seen with casual handling, so you should be able to find it easily while shopping in a store,” CR added.

You can report questionable U.S.-made product claims by filing a complaint with the FTC or calling 877-FTC-HELP.

What are your thoughts on this alleged mislabeling? Are you more likely to purchase a product that has a “Made in USA” label? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer

Research shows some hobbies can add years — or even decades — to your life.

5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify
6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify

Here’s how you can lend to startup businesses, fund social causes or get in on investments once available only to the very rich.

26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon
7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon

Use these websites and other tools to save money — or earn extra cash — when shopping at Amazon.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security
What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security

A federal minimum-wage hike could affect the Social Security system dramatically.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.