The Federal Trade Commission has finalized its order against a group of Massachusetts- and New Hampshire-based clothing accessories companies, along with their owner, Thomas Bates, for falsely claiming that certain company products were manufactured in the United States. The FTC’s order, first announced in June 2023, stops the company from making deceptive claims about products being “Made in USA” and requires it to pay a monetary judgment.
The FTC’s order against Bates and his companies Chaucer Accessories, Bates Accessories, and Bates Retail Group, which they have agreed to, includes a number of requirements about the claims they make:
- Restriction on unqualified claims: The companies and Bates will be prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims for any product, unless they can show that the product’s final assembly or processing—and all significant processing—takes place in the U.S., and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the U.S.
- Requirement for qualified claims: The companies and Bates are required to include in any qualified Made in USA claims a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.
- Requirement for assembly claims: The companies and Bates must also ensure, when claiming a product is assembled in the U.S., that it is last substantially transformed in the U.S., its principal assembly takes place in the U.S., and U.S. assembly operations are substantial.
- Monetary judgment: The order includes a monetary judgment of $191,481, which the companies and Bates will be required to turn over to the FTC.
The Commission vote to finalize the order was 3-0. The lead staff attorney on this matter was Julia Solomon Ensor in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.