A Ronan, Montana-based manufacturer of power tool accessories has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented that certain of its products are made in the United States. According to the FTC, these representations were false because these products were actually made with significant foreign components. The proposed settlement would prohibit the Jore Corporation from misrepresenting the extent to which any of its products are made in the United States.
In December 1997, after a comprehensive policy review, the FTC concluded that "Made in USA" advertising and labeling claims must continue to conform to the "all, or virtually all," standard that traditionally has been applied by the Commission. Under this standard, unqualified U.S. origin claims must be substantiated by evidence that a product is "all, or virtually all," made in the United States. In addition, the agency issued an Enforcement Policy Statement outlining the factors the Commission will consider in determining whether a U.S. origin claim is "deceptive." In December 1998, the FTC issued a new business guide: "Complying with the Made in USA Standard." This guide describes the principles of the FTC's standard for such claims and uses examples to help businesses understand how to comply with the standard.
Jore Corporation manufactures and markets power tool accessories, such as drilling and driving products. According to the FTC's complaint, packaging for certain Jore products contained such representations as:
Craftsman Speed-Lok, 7/16" Hex Shank Wood Boring Bit (½")
"Made in USA"
Stanley/JoreTech Fast Change Power Drilling and Driving Set
"Made in USA" in immediate conjunction with American flag (on front and two side panels)
In small print on the back of the package: "Made in USA with Domestic and Global components"
The FTC's complaint charges that through such means, the Jore Corporation has represented that certain of its power tool accessories are made in the United States, i.e., that all, or virtually all, of the component parts of the products are made in the United States, and the labor in manufacturing the products is performed in the United States. According to the FTC, these representations were false or misleading because these products were actually made with significant foreign components.
Further, according to the FTC, packaging for certain of the company's products contain the following statements:
Stanley/JoreTech ¼" Hex Shank Wood Boring Bit (5/8")
"Made in USA with Domestic and Global components"
Stanley/JoreTech ¼" Hex Shank Wood Boring Bit (7/8")
"Made in USA with Domestic and Global components"
The complaint alleges that, in fact, these products do not contain domestic components and that the representations were false and misleading.
The proposed settlement would prohibit the Jore Corporation from misrepresenting the extent to which any of its products are made in the United States. In addition, the proposed settlement contains a number of recordkeeping and reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring compliance with the terms of the order.
The Commission's vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0. An announcement regarding the proposed consent agreement will be published in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment until March 8, 2001, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
For additional information about the Commission's Made in USA policy, visit our "Made in USA" web site at <http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/usajump.htm >
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $11,000.
Copies of the complaint, the proposed consent agreement and an analysis of the agreement to aid in public comment are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261; or use the complaint form. TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
(FTC File No.: 002 3237)