Ad Alert


"Significant imported content" means computers can't be marketed as "Built in the USA."

Maingear, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of custom gaming computers, sought to get ahead of the game by marketing its PCs as “Built in the USA.” But in at least one regard the attention that the claim garnered was probably not what the company had envisioned.

An FTC inquiry into the company’s Made in the USA marketing found that “[a]lthough Maingear designs, finishes, tests, and supports its computers in New Jersey, the computers incorporate significant imported content.” For a product to be marketed as made or “built” in the USA, the FTC requires that “all or virtually all” of the product to be made here.

To appease the agency Maingear indicated that it had initiated a “corrective action plan” that included:

  • Removing all “Built in the USA” claims from its website;
  • Introducing statements like “Designed in the USA” and “Lifetime USA Support” that accurately convey the nature of its U.S. operations; and
  • Suspending Google ads with problematic U.S.-origin claims.

But two weeks after the FTC announced that it had closed out its inquiry based on these assurances it appears the plan is still a work in progress. For evidence of Maingear dragging its feet, look no further than the following Maingear Google ad, the first search result under the company’s name (captured Jan. 2, 2018):

In addition, while an archived screenshot of Maingear’s “About us” page from March 2017 shows that the company has swapped “Built in the USA” for “Designed in the USA,” this sentence remains toward the bottom of the page:

We build, manufacture, and support our systems here in the United States.

Tsk, tsk.

Find more of our coverage on Made in the USA claims here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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