TINA.org investigated the U.S. General Services Administration’s online shopping system, GSA Advantage!®, which supplies products and services to federal agencies, the District of Columbia, state and local governments, and certain nonprofit agencies, among others, and found that its website contained numerous inaccurate Made in the USA representations across various product types, including food service products and printer cartridges.
- Notified GSA of Made in USA issues
- GSA removed origin misrepresentations from its website
The GSA informs TINA.org that all of the identified errors on its website have been updated or removed, as appropriate.
TINA.org informs the GSA of latest audit results showing that U.S.-origin misrepresentations still exist on the GSA Advantage website, and that extending the time for contractors to break the law is not acceptable.
The GSA sends another notice to its contractors stating that it is removing the May 26 deadline previously communicated.
The GSA responds to TINA.org indicating that the responsibility for the Made in the USA misrepresentations falls on the companies who are contracting with the GSA to sell their wares.
The GSA sends notice to its contractors requiring them to verify the country of origin for all products on their contracts, and correct or delete any product pages containing false U.S.-origin claims. The GSA informs the contractors that any future Made in America misrepresentations “could result in the removal of your entire GSAdvantage file and/or subject your contact to cancellation…” The final deadline imposed on the contractors is May 26, 2016.
TINA.org informs GSA that one of the companies with inaccurate Made in the USA representations on the GSA Advantage website claims it did not supply false U.S.-origin information to the GSA (contrary to what the GSA had indicated). TINA.org asks the GSA to definitively identify the source of the errors.
TINA.org has telephone conference with the GSA. The GSA assures TINA.org that the remaining U.S.-origin misrepresentations will be corrected in short order, and that the GSA will begin implementing new compliance measures designed to prevent such misrepresentations in the summer.
TINA.org replies to the GSA after an audit reveals that 77 of the 118 products TINA.org originally identified are still marked as U.S.-made on the GSA Advantage website when the manufacturers for those products have identified them as foreign-made, despite the GSA’s representation that it had taken care of the issues.
The GSA sends a second letter to TINA.org indicating that it has reviewed the errors and taken action “as appropriate.” In support of this contention, a list of each of the 118 part numbers identified in TINA.org’s database of errors is included, which indicates the GSA’s disposition for each item (i.e., whether the product’s origin designation was modified, removed, or confirmed as U.S.-made).
TINA.org replies to the GSA’s letter urging quicker action.
The GSA sends a response to TINA.org indicating that it will review the identified concerns and will provide TINA.org the results within 30 days.
TINA.org sends a letter to the GSA alerting it to numerous false Made in the USA representations on its GSA Advantage website and requesting that it correct the errors immediately, as well as implement a mechanism to ensure that these types of errors do not happen again in the future.
TINA.org’s Made in USA Actions
A review of TINA.org’s work uncovering (and putting an end to) deceptive made in the USA ad campaigns.
GSA Issues Notice Concerning Trade Agreements Act and “Made in America” Compliance
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Lexology
TINA Warns Federal Agency about False Made in USA Claims
MADISON, CONN., March 14, 2016 – When Uncle Sam says something’s Made in the USA, you’re inclined to believe him. It is, after all, the U.S. government speaking. But an…