A distributor of pulley block systems agreed to stop making what the Federal Trade Commission said were false, misleading and unsupported claims that its products are “Made in USA.”
Texas-based Block Division sells metal pulleys for industrial use (to lift boats, for example, or operate overhead doors) and has touted its products for years as “Made in USA” and “American Made.” But in reality, the company’s pulley blocks and other products contained “significant” imported parts essential to the functioning of those products, the FTC asserted.
For several years the company used imported steel plates that entered the United States already stamped with the national origin claim, the agency alleged. Block Division furthered the deception by putting the “Made in USA” claim on its website, in stores, on social media, and in flyers and pamphlets, the FTC said.
Pursuant to the stipulated final order, the company is prohibited from making unqualified “Made in USA” claims unless it can show that “the final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States, all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States, and all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States.”
Any qualified national origin claims must include a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients, and/or processing that must appear “immediately adjacent to the representation.” In addition, Block Division is prohibited from making country of origin claims unless they are true, not misleading, and the company has a reasonable basis for making them.
To read the complaint and the consent order in In the Matter of Block Division, Inc., click here.
Why it matters: “Consumers have the right to know that they can trust companies to be truthful when it comes to ‘Made in USA’ claims,” Acting FTC Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a statement. As the second “Made in USA” case in recent weeks, the Block Division settlement follows an action against the distributor of a water filtration system that reached a similar deal with the agency.