The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Electrowarmth Products, LLC on August 30, 2022, for claiming that their heated mattress pads originated in the USA.
Electrowarmth Products is a company based in Ohio that makes electrically heated mattress pads. The specific pads in question in this matter are pads manufactured for semi-trunk bunk beds. Daniel W. Grindle owns Electrowarmth and the FTC has included his name in the lawsuit.
Electrowarmth faces charges of violating the Textile Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC’s order would force Electrowarmth to stop claiming that their pads were “Made in the USA” when they are really from China.
Electrowarmth instructed the Chinese manufacturer to keep everything the same on the packaging, which included the country of origin designation.
Electrowarmth Products manufactured mattress pads in the USA until 2019 when production moved to China to reduce costs. The move to China did not result in a reduction in the selling price for mattress pads.
The charges against the company are for harming consumers in the following ways:
- Incorrect country of origin displayed on the product labeling
- False advertising for listing imported products as Made in the USA
The FTC’s order prohibits the following conduct:
- Making unqualified U.S.-origin claims for any product not undergoing final assembly or processing in the United States.
- Sourcing products not manufactured in the United States.
Made in the USA products fail to disclose the degree to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.
Failure to verify that product labeled Made in the USA is substantially transformed in the United States, U.S. assembly operations are substantial, and the last substantial transformation of products occurs in the United States.
The settlement agreement includes an $815,809 monetary judgment, fully suspended because of the defendant’s inability to pay. If the FTC determines the defendant made intentional omissions on any sworn financial documents, the entire judgment will become due immediately.
This is not the first time the FTC has taken action against a company for falsely claiming its products were American-made. A complaint finalized in May 2022 alleged that Lions Not Sheep Products, LLC falsely stated that its imported clothing was “Made in the USA.” Lions Not Sheep and owner Sean Whalen had to pay $211,335 for not disclosing the origin of their products.
Adam Harmon, the owner of Axis LED Group, LLC and ALG-Health LLC, was referred to the Department of Justice by the FTC for falsely claiming the face masks his companies sold were of American origin. The companies violated the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the Made in USA Labeling Rule, and the FTC Act. The defendants must pay a $157,683 civil penalty.
The FTC’s action against Electrowarmth is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices. Other disputes they have filed include charges against Syngenta and Corteva, Hubble Contact Lenses, and Credit Karma.