Perhaps Walmart’s products aren’t as patriotic as they claim
According to a report recently released by the advertising watchdog group, Truth in Advertising, over 100 products labeled on Walmart’s website as “Made in the USA” are, in fact, imported from other countries.
The report found that both Walmart’s store brand products, such as Equate makeup sponges and tooth whitening strips, as well as other brands, such as Almay eyeliner, were falsely labeled as made in the United States.
Some products clearly displayed contrary information, such as a red, white, and blue “made in the USA” logo on the front, with the words “Made in China” displayed on the back. Other products were stamped with the patriotic logo while the product specifications listed the item as imported.
Walmart had an excuse, but the labels are magically gone
While there is no official certification process for labeling a product “made in the USA,” a company can still be sued for false advertising if they misuse the label. However, rather than taking legal action, Truth in Advertising simply sent a letter to Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, causing the retail chain some embarrassment, but sparing them the court room drama.
Walmart responded by saying that some manufacturing of its store brands had recently moved to the United States, but the website hadn’t been update yet. However, many Made in USA labels were removed from the website after Truth in Advertising’s letter went public. As for other brands, Walmart claims that the country of origin information comes from the supplier.
Great reminder to stay honest
Unimpressed by these excuses, executive direction of Truth in Advertising, Bonnie Patten, says that 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 Walmart cleans up this mess, consumers cannot rely on Walmart with regard to where a product is really made when shopping on the site.”
The report also argues that the website’s labels for “Made in USA” and “Assembled in USA,” with their tiny fonts and identical color schemes, are too similar to distinguish on the website, even though the Federal Trade Commission makes a clear differentiation between these two labels.
All of this is an important reminder for businesses to stay honest in advertising. All it takes is a watchdog with an internet connection and keen eye to uncover false claims.