While Walmart is taking advantage of the July 4th holiday to host its 4th U.S. Manufacturing Summit and remind consumers of its marketing push to purchase $250 billion in American products, the world’s biggest retailer is also still making deceptive Made in the USA claims over a year after it promised to clean up its act, according to new research from ad watchdog truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org).
The firm reported Walmart to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after an investigation last year uncovered numerous misrepresentations on its website, including products labeled “Made in the USA” while the packaging indicates “Made in China.” Upon receiving TINA.org’s warning letter, the company initially characterized the misrepresentations as “coding errors” and then blamed suppliers for providing outdated information.
Despite assurances Walmart made to the FTC last fall that it had scrubbed all false and deceptive “Made in the USA” claims on its website and put in place procedures to flag any future misrepresentations—assurances that helped close out an FTC inquiry—the retail giant’s website is still replete with false and deceptive U.S.-origin claims, the firm asserts.
TINA.org has compiled a new sampling of more than 100 Made in the USA misrepresentations found on Walmart.com that proves the retail giant continues to deceive consumers. Products on the Walmart website, ranging from markers to baseball caps to diapers, are listed as “Made in the USA,” though they are actually either wholly manufactured in places like Korea and China, or made in the U.S. with imported parts—a composition that, according to the FTC standard, cannot be advertised with an unqualified “Made in the USA” claim. Other items have conflicting U.S.-origin information on the same webpage.
“Walmart was put on notice over a year ago that it was deceiving consumers with misleading Made in the USA marketing. That this problem still exists is simply unacceptable. Clearly FTC intervention is necessary at this time,” said TINA.org executive director Bonnie Patten.
The ad watchdog has alerted the FTC and Walmart to its latest findings.
Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel