One of the best ways to support the American economy is to buy products made in the USA, instead of China, Vietnam, or other countries -- and many shoppers will choose a product over another if the label specifically says "Made in the USA."
But a new report says plenty of products that claim to be American-made may be fudging the truth, and that penalties are so lax companies continue to make false claims.
Hockey pucks, beds, military hats and flags
If you play hockey, what could be better than a Patriot Puck that was made in the USA?
It's a reminder of that 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic hockey team, with the chants of "USA, USA," that are still remembered today.
Only problem: The Patriot Puck was really made in China, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Ditto for a variety of military gear marketed to veterans, where even hats and American flags were really imported from China.
The FTC recently settled with all those companies, which have now agreed to stop making those false claims.
Few penalties for violating FTC rules
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, why this will not be the last time a Chinese-made product includes claims of being American-made.
A New York Times report says even though these companies falsely labeled their products as made in the USA, their financial penalty was zero dollars. It says they suffered little more than some public embarrassment.
If you paid extra for a "Made in the USA" item, you might say "doesn't that stink?"
But the Times report says with a lack of any real penalty, there's little incentive for other companies to stop making false claims.
So sure, look for American-made products when you're shopping.
But don't be surprised if you find out a company is stretching the truth a bit, especially with penalties so lax, so you don't waste your money.
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