3 On Your Side

'Made in the USA.' Is it really?

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Some websites help consumers find products that were actually made in the USA, as claimed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some websites help consumers find products that were actually made in the USA, as claimed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Sarah Wagner created a website that lists products made in the USA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Sarah Wagner created a website that lists products made in the USA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FTC Enforcement Division Director James Kohm. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) FTC Enforcement Division Director James Kohm. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

When you make a purchase, do you look to see if an item was “Made in the USA?”

Buying American-made merchandise seems patriotic and helps the economy, but what do those claims really mean? 

We’ve got the inside scoop from the federal agency that says it wants to be sure those “Made in the USA” claims are red, white and true! 

Her mixware, her dinnerware, a table full of stuff in Sarah Wagner’s home, all Made in the USA.
 
“When you make the choice to buy something American made you're making the choice to support your country and communities, and jobs around the United States,” says Wagner.

Buying “American made” is so critical for Wagner she started the website USALoveList.com to help others find where they can buy items made in the good ‘ole USA. 

“There is a lot out there that's still being made in America, I think that's worth celebrating,” said Wagner.
   
So, what does “Made in the USA” mean exactly? The Federal Trade Commission’s James Kohm told us, “All, or virtually all, of the product is made in this country.” 

The FTC is the go-to agency when it comes to defining “Made in the USA.” It even “polices products” to make sure what companies claim is accurate.

Kohm is the Enforcement Division Director and says, “The importance is what marketers say has to be truthful.”

The agency says it gets several hundred complaints a year about Made in the USA claims, and the FTC has taken action against several companies. In one case, officials say a company imported steel plates that were already stamped “Made in the USA.”

“What we want the public to know is that we're on the beat. That we're looking at these claims, that they can contact us if they see a false claim,” Kohm said. 

The FTC says a vast majority of “Made in the USA” claims are accurate. And the agency doesn’t want to dissuade people from buying American. But you can help the feds by reporting anything that’s suspicious.

For example, Kohm tells us, “Sometimes, individuals will call if there's a sticker and they peel off the sticker, and see under the ‘Made in the USA’ sticker ‘Made in China’.”

And while the FTC makes sure you’re getting good stuff, Sarah also has the scoop on where to get the goods.

“It's a joy to put this information out there because people are waiting for it, and want to know what products to buy,” said Wagner. 

To learn more about “Made in the USA” label claims or learn how to file a complaint click the link below:

FTC: Https://www.Ftc.Gov/tips-advice/business-center/advertising-and-marketing/made-in-usa

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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