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#2463981 - 01/20/13 10:39 AM When does misleading advertising become fraud?
zonker Offline
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Registered: 04/30/12
Posts: 2
Loc: northern Kentucky/Cincy area
I recently purchased a DigiTech RP1000 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal from the online vendor MUSIC123. The main selling point for me, other than the price drop, was seeing this product advertised on both the vendor's and the manufacturer's websites, as well as several other vendor web sites, prominently bearing a MADE IN USA label. Please note that I adamantly oppose supporting military governments such as China whenever it is feasible, this is just my personal preference based upon my beliefs. So why then should I have not been upset when my parcel arrived and I pulled out a product stamped DESIGNED IN THE USA with a MADE IN CHINA label attached to it's bottom? The first person I spoke to at MUSIC123 told me he had seen these made in DigiTech's Utah factory, said it was a cool field trip, told me the MADE IN CHINA label merely referenced the use of Chinese PC Boards while assuring me the product was made here in the USA. I then contacted DigiTech and was informed that the product was developed and manufactured in Utah beginning in 2008, and was outsourced to China in mid 2011; they also added that they were not responsible for vendor catalog errors while refusing to address the question as to why they displayed misleading photographs of the product on their own website. The second guy I spoke to at MUSIC123 insinuated that I was trying to scam them, then told me that a business was allowed to make substitutions, I should read the terms and conditions; he also asserted the claim that they were not responsible for manufacturer errors. If you look up the legal definition of false advertising, it specifically addresses the misrepresentation of a product's country of origin as being illegal. So why is it that only a small handful of vendors who sell this product refrain from using these misleading photographs that display the MADE IN USA label? Has fraud become okay as long as you can place some of the blame on someone else? Have we the consumer become so obsessed by low pricing that we will allow manufacturers and vendors to get away with bending, if not actually breaking the law? Am I missing something here? If I am, will someone with some intelligence please explain how this practice can be kosher?
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#2463983 - 01/20/13 10:49 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: zonker]
Fusker Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 1165
Loc: Moscow, Idaho
This is probably a political post and reply that won't last. ;-)

Doesn't sound like "fraud" to me. Define "made" would be the lawyer reply to insinuating this is fraudulent. Marketing weasel-ness? Perhaps. They could probably receive an assembly, add one final part in the US and claim "made" in the US.

Don't get me wrong, I hear you...but there are disclaimers for everything. Key words such as "manufactured", "assembled" or "produced" would be more telling. Hate to say it, but the term "made" is vague and can be butchered to death.
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#2464000 - 01/20/13 11:44 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: Fusker]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13044
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
I'm afraid you have the choice to use their stuff or not, and that's about it. I mean, if you could find a lawyer to go over the fine print and see if a case can be made, you could sue, but more than likely you'd end up settling out of court with them adding a clause in the settlement that they are not admitting any wrongdoing. And that's only if you got that farwith it.

If it bothers you enough, sell the gadget and use something else. But I suspect you'll have a hard time finding anything like that unit that wasn't at least partially made overseas someplace.
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#2464021 - 01/20/13 01:36 PM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: picker]
Guitarzan Offline
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Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 14710
most info on the net and websites is usually pretty bad anyway.
people who put this stuff up are rarely knowledgeable of what they are advertising and then there is laziness in updating things. not to mention the info from the companies is usually pretty pathetic. there was a time when people who worked for companies had a clue and cared about their work. but that isn't the case now. it is "just a job" and misinformation is pretty well standard not because of trying to cheat people but because of human stupidity. IMHO
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#2464027 - 01/20/13 02:09 PM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: Guitarzan]
Larryz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 4933
Loc: Hwy 49, California
I think you should be able to return the product for full credit to include S&H. You could file a consumer complaint if they fail to honor your request. The product is clearly labeled and the promo has an error in the ad. It's not a good fraud case as the company will just claim it was an oversite by an employee in the back room ad department somewhere and not intentional...

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#2464034 - 01/20/13 02:55 PM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: Larryz]
russclan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 228
Do you like the unit? Does it sound good? If so, keep it.

There are very few items, probably none, actually, that are truly made in the U.S. anymore. Whether it's outsourced labor, or imported parts/components, everything is touched in some way by foreign countries.

Every time you go out and spend money, on anything, really, you are in some way supporting a foreign economy.

Most items would be prohibitively expensive if they were made here by Americans making a decent wage using only 100% U.S.-made parts. Those days have long since passed, my friend.

Hell, most of the tone woods we know and love for our guitars are, and always have been, imported.

The ad was misleading, though...I agree with you there. If it bothers you that much, send it back for a refund and say it doesn't work right. Is that being dishonest? Maybe...but so was their ad.
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#2464146 - 01/21/13 07:19 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: russclan]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1820
Loc: Inside the Beltway
It would be hard to make a case for this, sorry to say. Also, if you look in any of your product manuals, you'll very likely find a phrase in very small print, near the back of the manual - "Specifications subject to change without notice." That phrase covers a LOT of legal ground - think about all those 80's Tube Screamers, assembled with whatever op-amp happened to be handy.

I say return the thing, and claim it doesn't suit your needs, avoiding any discussion about false advertising. It's not exactly a lie to say the thing doesn't suit you, it's more about semantics. Another suggestion, if they try to give you a run-around. Go directly to your credit card provider, and make a claim there. I know that American Express, for example, has very stringent buyer-protection policies, and they have much more clout than a single consumer.

Final suggestion - do more research before you buy. As you've seen, even something marked MADE IN USA might actually be assembled from Chinese-made parts. If you're not sure, contact the company. The person you spoke with at Digitech was able to give you the real story on when and where the units were made - also, remember, that person isn't responsible for the photo on the website. (FWIW, the folks at Digitech have helped me out more than once, and I think their support staff are some of the best.) I got a similar surprise, opening an EHX Little Big Muff, a while back. It has MADE IN NYC, USA printed on the cardboard box, and on the silkscreened logo on the pedal itself, but when I opened it to take out the battery, I found the metal box clearly marked NSC MADE IN CHINA!?!? Caveat emptor . . .


Edited by Winston Psmith (01/21/13 07:40 AM)
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#2464179 - 01/21/13 08:42 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 2960
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I have a masters in marketing and a law license: you haven't quite gotten to the point of fraud with this one.

As has been pointed out, "Made in ______" can mean a lot of things, including made in that country, but out of entirely foreign parts. In other words, it was merely assembled in the country on the label.

FWIW, I'm with you on trying to eliminate those "MiC" products I can from my life, but the harsh reality is that most major manufacturers use Chinese facilities for something. I received a Fernandes Revolver Elite for my birthday last year, made in Korea.

The Fernandes case it shipped in? Made in China.


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (01/21/13 08:46 AM)
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#2464187 - 01/21/13 09:06 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5579
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
I agree...send it back. If you haven't used it already. You don't even have to tell them why you're returning it. If they DO insist on a reason, tell them the truth. Or, be as honest as you think THEY were and tell them anything.
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#2464208 - 01/21/13 09:52 AM Re: When does misleading advertising become fraud? [Re: whitefang]
picker Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13044
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
IF you're gonna send it back, you need to git 'er done. Limited time on returns IS part of their sales shpiel.
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