FTC Fines Company for Replacing ‘Made in China’ Tags With ‘Made in USA’

A Utah-based apparel company was slammed by the Federal Trade Commission last week for an unusual violation. Lions Not Sheep was ripping out the “Made in China” labels on some clothing items and replacing them with “Made in the USA” labels.

The company and its owner, Sean Whalen, were hit with a $211,335 fine after an investigation by the FTC. The agency got the complaint in May and said that other countries’ labels were also replaced.

It did not identify which other countries the products originated from.

The products it carries, many with 2nd Amendment themes, are marketed on Amazon and Etsy as well as its own website. Everything from t-shirts and sweatshirts to jackets and other apparel are available.

The FTC issued a 12-page order demanding Lions Not Sheep stop making false claims about the country of origin for their products and “come clean” about items being made or not made in the USA.

The complaint stated that from May to Oct. 2020, labels saying “100% AMERICAN MADE,” “Made in America,” and “Are your products USA Made?” came with its products.

It also stated that Whalen posted on social media that he could hide the fact that his shirts were in fact made in China. All he had to do, the post reportedly said, was take out the country of origin tags and replace them with bogus “Made in the USA” claims.

Several celebrities signed on to endorse Lions Not Sheep products, including UFC fighters Dan Henderson and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Another who made an endorsement was former Navy SEAL Robert J. O’Neill, who is reputed to be responsible for the shot that killed Osama bin Laden.

Whalen told the FTC that he had been “white labeling.” This involves taking products begun in other countries such as China but finished in American shops to categorize them as “Produced in the USA with Imported Materials.” This was not good enough for the FTC.

Instead, the government said that Lions Not Sheep had to show that it is substantially transformed and principally assembled in the U.S. American-made needs to mean something again, and companies need to know that.