What You Need to Know About Mattress Law Tags

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You just bought a luxurious new mattress and can’t wait to unwrap it and sink into blissful sleep. But wait – what’s that weird tag on the side? Should you cut it off before using the mattress? Here is the truth about the tags on mattresses and why you should never remove them.

When mattress shopping, you may notice a white fabric tag sewn onto the side of mattress models on display. This tag is full of crucial information for the consumer about materials, warranties, and care. While it may seem harmless to snip it off, there are important legal reasons to leave the mattress tag intact.

What Exactly is a Mattress Tag?

The tag attached to mattresses is officially known as the “law tag.” It is a legally required label that contains details about the mattress contents, size, warranty, manufacturer, and more. Mattress companies are mandated to display this information tag on each mattress sold.

Typically 2 to 5 inches long, the sturdy mattress tag is made of fabric like canvas and sewn securely onto a side seam. Its conspicuous rectangular shape and large print make it easy to find and read. Though tags were historically placed on mattress exteriors, most are now discreetly stitched onto the interior seam of mattress covers.

In addition to product specifics, the law tag states legal disclaimers like “do not remove under penalty of law.” This curt warning is why mattress tags have long been shrouded in misconceptions. However, the tags provide valuable guidance for consumers.

Why Mattress Tags Are Legally Required

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission’s Textile Fiber Products Identification Act requires all mattresses to display certain details on an attached tag. This regulation ensures mattress shoppers can make informed purchasing decisions by easily accessing important product information.

The Textile Act, passed in 1960, mandates labeling for consumer goods containing fabric components. Mattresses fall under this umbrella. Compliance with mattress tagging laws also helps regulate safety and manufacturing standards.

Mattress sellers can face penalties upwards of $16,000 per violation of removing or failing to provide proper tags. Given the substantial fines at stake, all reputable mattress brands securely attach these informational tags to their products.

What’s on the Mattress Tag

While appearing inconspicuous, mattress tags reveal valuable guidance. Here are some of the key details included:

Materials Used

The mattress tag lists all materials used in order of predominance. This helps you understand what’s inside in terms of foam, fibers, springs, textiles, or other components. Seeing the materials helps identify mattresses best suited to your needs.

Mattress Dimensions

The tag denotes the mattress dimensions including width, length, height, and sometimes weight. This allows easy size verification when mattress shopping.

Manufacturer Info

Brand, model, and manufacturer details are provided so you can contact them with questions or claims. Place of origin must also be shown.

Law Compliance

Required statements affirming compliance with the Textile Act’s labeling regulations are printed on mattress tags.

Care Instructions

Mattress tags outline recommendations for rotating, cleaning, and protecting your mattress to uphold the warranty.

Warranty Details

Warranty terms, period length, coverage, and claims process is summarized on the tag. This allows you to understand the protection you’re getting with your mattress purchase upfront.

Why You Should Read the Mattress Tag Before Buying

With so much crucial information packed onto that small tag, it is essential to read mattress tags when evaluating options. Taking a few minutes to review the tag will empower your purchasing decision in these key ways:

  • Verify the mattress offers the right materials, dimensions, quality, and value you need.
  • Match the mattress construction to your sleep needs and preferences.
  • Research the mattress brand reputation, origin, and warranties.
  • Understand optimal care instructions to retain a lasting mattress.
  • Avoid mattresses that contain materials you want to avoid for health or ethical reasons.
  • Identify the best mattress for your budget based on materials and durability.
  • Determine expected mattress lifespan based on quality of materials and warranties.

In short, the simple mattress tag provides a wealth of data to guide your ideal mattress selection. Never buy a mattress without reading the tag first.

The Penalty for Removing Mattress Tags

Given the stern “do not remove” warnings on tags, you may be wondering – is it really illegal to cut it off? Technically, yes – removing your mattress tag violates the Textile Act and could result in thousands of dollars in fines. However, enforcement is very rare and aimed at retailers, not consumers.

The threatening label language stems from a controversial amendment in 1973 that criminalized removing tags. While thousands in penalties are applicable by law, the government has virtually never levied fines against individuals cutting their own mattress tags.

You likely face no risk of penalty for removing your own mattress tag once your purchase the bed. However, keeping the tag intact ensures you retain access to important care instructions and warranty details. It also prevents premature damage if you need to exchange or return the mattress later. Leaving the tag in place is wise.

Key Takeaways About Mattress Tags

Mattress tags provide valuable guidance that savvy mattress buyers should use to make educated comparisons and selections. Key points to remember:

  • Mattress tags are legally required “law labels” designed to protect consumers.
  • Tags disclose materials, sizes, warranties, manufacturer information, and care instructions.
  • Reviewing the tag helps you select the ideal mattress for your needs and budget.
  • Consumers face no penalties for removing their own mattress tags, though retaining the tag is recommended.
  • The tag should remain intact throughout the mattress return period in case an exchange is needed.

Before your next mattress purchase, be sure to carefully inspect each model’s informational tag. Despite the dull appearance, it holds the secrets to choosing your perfect mattress for safe, comfortable, and lasting sleep.

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