Published on June 25th, 2013 | by Mattress Journal0
10 Things You Should Know About Mattress Tags
As a consumer, it is important to be aware of what mattress tags can tell you and what purpose they serve. All furnishings, including beds and even pillows are required to carry these tags by law. Many people wonder, if you are the owner and remove mattress tags, are you at risk of being charged with a crime? No, the police won’t come get you! But, read on for the list of 10 things you should know about mattress tags before you buy a new mattress.
The International Association of Bedding and Furniture Law Officials is an international organization that was created in 1936. Its purpose is to regulate and enforce laws and statues regarding product labeling. Laws regarding labels on bedding are also covered under USA Uniform Law Labels for Bedding Furniture, Blended Fillings, and Chambered Bedding Products. Down, polyfill, and items constructed with more than one chamber are some of the items included in these descriptions. All pillows, mattress pads, blankets and mattresses require that mattress tags be attached stating specific information regarding what is used to create them and where and when they were manufactured, and every product sold in the US must meet the same tagging guidelines.
Mattress Tags: 9 Important Facts
1) You can remove the mattress tags, but that doesn’t mean you should.
As the owner you can legally remove the tags, but it may not be in your best interest to do so. First, they contain the information that is required to ensure the company stands behind the warranty, and to prove the bed’s origin. If the tag is removed, you may have no recovery options regardless of the paperwork on file. Second, should there ever be a recall, you will need the tag information to determine if you are affected and make a claim.
If after purchasing a mattress, the tag is mutilated or removed, keep it in a secure area in case a warranty issue arises or there is a recall.
2) The silk tag is not enough, you need to keep the “Uniform Law Label” attached.
The silk mattress tags (the log-branded tag) does not contain the information that is located on the Uniform Law Label and often can’t be used to replace the mattress for most warranty purposes. It also won’t provide the information consumers need to determine whether their mattress is included in a recall. The Uniform Law Label tag is the one which begins with “UNDER PENALTY OF LAW THIS TAG NOT TO BE REMOVED EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER”.
3) Any mattress you buy usually must have a tag.
In most US states, manufacturers are not allowed to sell mattresses, pillows or bedding products without the tag. Even refurbished and used beds sold from a retail operation must have the tags attached in 26 states. This is to protect you the consumer and keep you informed as to what you are buying.
4) The mattress retailer cannot remove the tags.
The company selling you the bed cannot, by law, remove the tags. The bed must arrive with the mattress tags attached and intact. If you notice that the tag has been removed, cut, marked on or altered in any way (and you bought the bed as new), contact the seller and check your local laws to see what you should do.
5) Tags tell you what’s inside.
Many items we purchase and live with every day are imported and labeling laws require them to state information regarding where they are made or manufactured. All tags must be in English and contain specific information on the label including materials, manufacture date, flammability information, and state the country of origin. If secondhand material is used in the product that must also be stated on the label. The percentages of materials must also be included. Generic names must be used for materials rather than branded or trade names to limit confusion. Here are some of the common terms allowed for use (full law label terms list here):
- Feathers / Down
- Latex Foam Rubber
- Polyurethane Foam
- Urethane Foam / High Resilience
- Rayon Fiber
6) The mattress tag may not tell you everything.
Bedding products are not supposed to contain chemicals that are banned in the U.S., such as formaldehyde and certain PBDEs. However, manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemical components of their mattresses on tags, but rather the generic name of the raw materials and fibers. Chemicals used to meet the stringent laws regarding flammability, fungicides, and other products also do not have to be listed on the tag. Additionally, the tags are prepared by the manufacturer, so there is a possibility of mistakes or fraud (though if caught they face stiff penalties).
7) Laws limit what manufacturers can put on the tags.
International regulations, U.S. regulations, and some state laws have been enacted to protect consumers that have an impact on what is included on the manufacturer’s label. Under these laws, manufacturers must use the generic names for all materials, rather than their branded names and cannot put their logos or change the designs of law tags. Some states also require additional information like size, weight, vendor information and other manufacturing details.
8) The country of origin must be on the tag.
Country codes are designated with two letters, such as China which has recently changed from the old RC (Republic of China) to the new CN code. California is listed as CA, while Canada has changed to CD to avoid confusion. These codes conform to ISO standards, which can be found here. USA-made mattresses that import materials or components must also specify either “Made in the US of imported materials”, or “Made in China, finished in USA”, for example.
9) The flammability notice is often on the law tag.
The California flammability notice will often be on the same tag, either to the left, beneath, or on the reverse. This is the notice which states a product complies with California TB 116 and TB 117/16 CFR Part 1633 laws, and also warn consumers to exercise care near flame and cigarettes.
10) Mattress tags serve a purpose for businesses as well.
Companies also benefit from the use of the information found on these tags. They are often able to track the factory and batch where the individual mattresses were manufactured. This helps them identify quality control problems with warranty claims and returns, and may assist with recalls, benefiting customers as well. The tag information also allows manufacturers to ensure warranty claims cannot be refiled for the same bed (after its sold or donated).
So, ultimately, when it comes to mattress tags, consumers may remove them without breaking the law. However, there are several benefits of leaving the tags on, and much information that can be gleaned from tags as well. It is always a good idea to cross check the tag information when you accept delivery of a new bed, and you may even find it helpful to take a photo of the mattress tags to ensure the data will be accessible down the road.