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Is It Illegal to Remove Mattress, Pillow Tags?

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

Every person notices the intimidating warnings on pillows and mattresses that say it's against the law to remove the tags. As a child, the prospect of being hauled off to jail for snipping off a tag tickled your fancy; perhaps some of the intrigue has lasted into adulthood.

But is it actually illegal to remove mattress and pillow tags?

Pillow and Mattress Tag Law

If you've lawfully purchased the pillow or mattress, the answer is no. It's only against the law to remove the tag prior to the sale and delivery of a pillow or mattress to the final consumer. Essentially, that means sellers can't remove a "stamp, tag, label, or other identification" on a pillow or mattress; only consumers can.

Quick, grab a pillow and read the label. You'll notice that these days, the tags are more explicit and say something to the effect of "Under Penalty Of Law This Tag Not To Be Removed Except By The Consumer." See? You're golden.

Sellers who remove or mutilate a tag before sale or delivery of a mattress or pillow can potentially be held liable for an unfair method of competition and an unfair or deceptive act or practice, under the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Reason for Tag Requirement

If you think about it, there are good consumer warranty reasons for this rule. The tags are a form of certification made by the manufacturer that the materials in the pillow or mattress are described in accordance with the law.

The information on tags help to ensure that customers are receiving new, unused products. In addition, the tags let consumers know what materials go into the pillows and mattresses. They allow consumers to make more informed choices and help them steer clear of dangerous materials.

At the end of the day, the tags are meant to give consumers assurances from the manufacturer that their pillows and mattresses meet consumer expectations. If you want to avoid flammable materials or materials you may be allergic to, or if you prefer cotton versus polyurethane pillows for your children, look at the tags.

If you're confident you got what you thought you paid for, then go ahead and grab those scissors. Rest assured, it's perfectly legal.

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