The Federal Trade Commission announced it reached a settlement with Old Southern Brass resolving allegations that the company made false claims that its products were made in the United States, that the company was veteran-operated, and that it donated 10% of its sales to military service charities.

In announcing the settlement, Samuel Levine, the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, "This company and its owner's brazen deception cheated consumers who wanted to support U.S. manufacturing, veteran-operated businesses, and veteran charities. We will continue to hold accountable those who profit from false Made in USA and military association claims."

The FTC alleged that the company made false claims that its products were made here, including claims such as, "All of our products are made right here in the United States of America," "all of our products are 100% American made," and "100% USA made." The FTC charged, however, that many of the company's products are wholly imported from China or contain significant imported content.

The FTC also alleged that the company made false claims that the company is veteran-operated, such as, "As a veteran-operated business in the United States, our mission is to give back to fellow American patriots who have served and protected our country." The FTC said, however, that the company is not, in fact, operated by anyone who is a veteran of the U.S. military.

In addition, the FTC also charged the company with falsely claiming that 10% of its sales are donated to military service charities when, in fact, the company donated less than 1% of its sales to charity.

As part of the settlement, a $4.5 million judgment was entered against the company and its owner, but due to inability to pay, they are only required to pay $150,000. In addition to agreeing to not make misrepresentations in the future, the company agreed to notify its customers that the claims that the company had been making were false.

This enforcement is an important reminder that, if you're going to make claims that your product is made in the United States, you'd better be able to substantiate that it was "all or virtually all" made here in accordance with the FTC's Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims and the FTC's Made in USA Labeling Rule.

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