ADAMSTOWN – Bollman Hat Co. seems intent on charting a business-as-usual plan of operations for the 150-year-old Pennsylvania company after it recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission, over making claims about all or virtually all of its products being made in the U.S.
“We’ve tried throughout our history to make as much as we can in the U.S. even as we’ve had to evolve to a company that’s expanded to other markets,” President and CEO Don Rongione told the Pennsylvania Record.
“We’re a company that has always had great pride in what we do and the heritage of how we do it, and that won’t change. We’ve never mislabeled any product as made in the U.S.”
Company officials said they received a letter from the FTC that stated that the government had received information that Bollman may be wrongfully promoting some of its products as “100 percent made in the U.S.” even though the products may contain foreign content.
More specifically, the FTC argued in a complaint that the company actually imports more than 70 percent of its salable items as finished products. The remaining 30 percent of the items were said to use substantial amounts of imported content.
The FTC said in a release Jan. 23 that Bollman had settled with it and "has agreed to stop making false claims that the hats and other products it sells are all or virtually all made in the United States, and to stop deceptive use of its 'American Made Matters' certification and marketing materials."
The FTC release made no mention of any money involved in the settlement.
“We’re compliant with the FTC and the consent order,” Rongione added of the company, a wholly owned subsidiary of SaveAnAmericanJob. “We’re also hopeful that the government will look for ways of helping U.S. manufacturers in our attempt to secure raw materials that are suitable for production.”
Rongione said government officials would not reveal who made the complaint against the company or many more of the details about it.
The country’s oldest hat maker, Bollman sells hats under the Bollman, Bailey Western, Betmar, Country Gentleman, Eddy Bros., Helen Kaminski, Jacaru, Kaminski XY, Kangol, Karen Kane and Pantropic labels.
Officials added the majority of products produced by Bollman are made of wool materials, which are permitted under the Wool Product Labeling Act to be labeled as Made in USA.