A company which sells a “Made in USA” certification seal has agreed to stop deceptive claims after being targeted by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges.

The FTC said Made in USA Brand LLC had deceived consumers by allowing companies to use the seal without independently verifying that products had been made in the US, or disclosing that the companies had certified themselves.

According to the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on US Origin Claims, products labelled as “Made in the USA” must be “all or virtually all” made in the US.

Made in the USA Brand charges companies US$250-2,000 a year to use the mark and to be listed in a database of “certified” companies.

However, the FTC found the company did not independently evaluate products before certifying them, had no procedures to determine compliance – and had never rejected any application of terminated a company’s use of the mark.

“Seals can be very helpful when consumers purchase products based on claims that are difficult to verify – like the Made-in-the-USA claim,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“When marketers provide seals without any verification, or without telling consumers the seal is unverified, consumers are deceived and the value of all marketers’ seals is diminished.

“This case makes it clear that the FTC will not let that happen.”