So, you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and spot an ad for clothing. Or maybe you’re shopping for gadgets on Etsy or Amazon. When the seller says the product “ships from the USA,” what does that really mean?
What it doesn’t necessarily mean is that a product is also made in the USA. Let’s say there’s a product that was made overseas. Sometimes, stores will ship that product to U.S. distribution centers. No problem. Sometimes, stores will let customers know that the product is shipping from within the U.S. Again, no problem — as long as it’s clear those products aren’t U.S.-made. If a store doesn’t make that difference clear, chances are the products aren’t “made in the USA.”
Here’s what else to know when you shop online:
- Before you buy, check it out. Search online for the name of the store, plus words like “scam” or “complaint.”
- Check the reviews. See if others have had good or bad experiences with the store. Focus on sites you know are credible and that offer impartial reviews from real experts.
- Look up the return policy. Find out if the store takes returns and gives refunds.
- Pay by credit card, if you can. Credit cards offer the most protection against fraud, including the right to dispute charges if there are problems with your purchase.
If you think a store is trying to pass off their products as "made in the USA" when they’re not, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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Made in the USA, What percentage of the product is actually made in the USA? Or, what does assembled in the USA mean, where is the line between parts made offshore and assembled in the USA? Does putting the laces on a pair of shoes where the majority of the shoe was made offshore allow it to say made in the USA?
In reply to Made in the USA, What… by Richard Donahue
For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. There may be an insignificant amount of foreign materials far back in the process.
A product that includes foreign components may be called “Assembled in USA” without qualification when its
principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the “assembly” claim to be valid, the product’s last “substantial transformation” also should have occurred in the U.S. (A “screwdriver” assembly of a product in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn’t usually qualify for the “Assembled in USA” claim.)
Thank yall for your work.
Just like 'Assembled in the USA.' Who knows where the parts came from?
I placed an order from a company claiming to be in NC. When the package finally came the shipping label said NC. However, when I tried to remove the label it was shipped from China. Scammer
Great information. I learned my lesson when I purchased a jacket from an unknown store. First of all, the sizing was all wrong, I had to take a picture of it as part of the return process and finally, they offered a very small monetary offer to keep the jacket. I ended up giving it to a young friend. So now, I always check out where the store is located and what it's return policy is. A good warning sign is how long it takes to be delivered. If it is over a week, then it defiantly not being shipped or made in America.
In reply to Great information. I… by Lillian Johnson
I purchased bras from an ad on facebook. It was to be buy one get 2 free . What a crock that was. The company claimed i read it wrong and i should have ordered 3 in order to get the offer.after 10 weeks of waiting i received one it was the wrong size I gave them 4 weeks and emailed the company for 6 weeks of course they stated shipped from USA however they claimed it would was from USA NOT it came from denmark and gave me an excuse that it depended on the weather for it to be delivered in 4-6 weeks DO NOT PURCHASE FROM CONTIUOENY. I learned my lesson facebook ads are scams. I will never purchase anything from facebook. They also tried to overcharge me..
The distinction between made in and shipped from is only a "pay attention scam". It is not deceptive so much as maybe easy to miss. "Shipped from USA" is very useful information when purchasing imported merchandise — it lets the consumer know they should receive merchandise in days, rather than weeks or months. If one prefers domestic products, of course look for origin statements and try to figure out if they are true.
If we have been cheated then where to complain
Yes, posted as business address in Maine, made in China. OK. Product doesn't fit. Cannot return to shipping/commerce address. Can only return to China. Another $40 for international transport. Company tries to purchase return goods for 20% of actual cost. Sent by international mail never to be seen again. Company no longer posts on Facebook. Zing!!
Really appreciate the warnings info you provide since I an a victim twice on iinternet sales.
Thanks! I've seen "Ships from the USA" Recently. I also don't trust any company that does not have telephone customer service.
I always thought that "Ships in the USA" meant it's probably made in China, India, Vietnam so I knew to order a larger size. I never thought this was deceptive in any way
I would like to know how I can determine if a food product was manufactured in another country. Some cans will say country of origin but most do not. Is there any kind of code we can look for to determine that?
It seems as though America and perhaps, the world is experiencing the concept of "blurred lines" or "caveat emptor'. A purchase and decisions are left up to the buyer. Omgosh, lions tigers and bears everywhere 🤔🧐