It’s July and as we slide towards the long fourth of July weekend, there’s a natural tug to break out the Red, White and Blue. And for many, that means a trip to WalMart to stock up on patriotic shirts, hats, and swag that all proclaims to be “Made in the USA.” Except for one thing; it’s probably not.
According to an investigation by TruthInAdvertising, a significant number of “Made in the USA” Labels at WalMart are actually made in China.
From the announcement:
TINA.org’s investigation into the retail giant’s website readily uncovered more than 100 instances of false and deceptive made in the USA representations. The investigation revealed products labeled “Made in the USA” though packaging indicated they were “Made in China.” TINA.org also found USA product labels on Walmart.com that were in direct conflict with the site’s own specification information on the same webpage.
In a letter sent June 22, TINA.org called on Walmart to remove from its site all false and deceptive made in the USA representations. The company cited multiple reasons for the mislabeling issues including “coding errors,” outdated information from suppliers, and a convoluted process by which USA labels and product specifications are handled separately on the site. Walmart said TINA.org’s letter has since prompted the decision to streamline that process.
But while Walmart pledged that it would fix the problems, and has made limited progress in removing some of the false labels, the website is still riddled with USA labeling issues.
“False made in USA labeling on Walmart’s website has misled consumers looking to purchase American-made products,’’ said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “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.”
Studies show Americans are actually willing to pay more for product they know are made here in the US. So WalMart’s excuses of coding errors seem more like an admission deceptive marketing was exposed than an honest mistake.
TINA.org notes this is the second action against the retail giant over made in the USA claims this year. If you’re curious about what it means for products “made in the USA” go here.