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 investigation by truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) into GSA Advantage, the government’s “premier online shopping superstore,” has uncovered numerous inaccurate “Made in the United States of America” representations on its website. The consumer group has sent a warning letter to GSA notifying the agency of its findings.
“If you can’t trust the federal government to make a truthful made in the USA claim, who can you trust?” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten.
GSA Advantage is a division of the General Services Administration (GSA) that provides a variety of goods and services to other federal agencies, state and local governments and certain nonprofits. In 2015, the GSA reported over $8 billion in revenue related to these sales.
TINA.org found a range of products on the GSA Advantage website labeled “Made in the United States of America” that were actually manufactured in China, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere and compiled a database of more than 100 examples. GSA’s multiple errors not only mislead its customer base but also impact competitors who correctly label their products.
GSA was also alerted to the issue in January when U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, of New York, called on the government agency to review product listings containing Made in the USA misrepresentations and remove the errors after a flatware manufacturer located in the state whose products are made in the USA complained.
This is the third action TINA.org has taken regarding Made in the USA claims. Last year, TINA.org filed a complaint with the FTC regarding hundreds of misrepresentations on Walmart’s website as well as a complaint about the implied Made in USA claims by the “Almay Simply American” marketing campaign. Both resulted in the companies taking action to address the issues raised by TINA.org.
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