In a challenge brought by Aquasana, Inc., the NAD determined that Advanced Purification Engineering Corp. (APEC), a manufacturer of water filtration systems, was not responsible for substantiating or correcting “Made in USA” claims made in customer reviews posted on third-party sites.

While APEC’s products are designed and assembled in the US, they do not meet the FTC’s “all or virtually all” standard for unqualified “Made in USA” claims. APEC had earlier modified its country of origin claims and had taken measures to prevent domestic origin claims made in customer reviews. NAD ultimately concluded that APEC did not control the message conveyed by product reviews posted on sites it did not control and was not responsible for their truthfulness. NAD emphasized that a key aspect of its investigation was determining how APEC reacted to the review; NAD may have reached a different conclusion if APEC had echoed the positive statements made by the customers or otherwise responded in a way that validated the claims.