Under Penalty Of Law-Not To Be Removed Except By the Consumer

Why? why is the tag so important? And what is the penalty if I am not the consumer and remove the tag?

I presume this is regarding fire safety tags on mattresses/soft furnishings?

The tag provides consumer information regarding the level of fire resistance of the item; if it is removed, the retailer could presumably make claims of greater safety levels than were actually the case.

They list the contents and, as Mangetout notes, the fire safety level, of the merchandise. This is important to assure that the public can be aware of what it’s purchasing. You would not give a goose down pillow to an invalid allergic to goose down, for example.

The warning is to comply with public law, requiring that a tag stating the contents is affixed and not removed by anyone until the merchandise is in the hands of the final consumer.

Amusingly, up until a few years ago, the tags in America read “NOT TO BE REMOVED UNDER PENALTY OF LAW” with no large-print exception for the final consumer – leading to the credulous believing that there was a law requiring that they keep that tag in place on the merchandise they purchased.

Presumably the penalty would be whatever is the penalty for charges of consumer fraud in your locality.

As a kid, that always freaked me out. Why can’t we remove this? Will the police come to our house if we do?

In the 1970s, National Lampoon ran a full-page illustration, done in the style of 1930s pulp magazine covers (it may even have been on the cover of the issue. I don’t recall) that showed a half-clad woman cowering in the background as a gloved set of hands in the foreground was ripping the “don not Remove” tag from a mattress. Great stuff.

There were jokes about this back in the mid-50s, and no doubt earlier. It only took 30 years for the powers that be to get around to changing the tag, and eliminating a whole class of gags, throwing countless joke writers out of work, no doubt.

Ah, so it was just in the U.S.? That makes sense now, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I always saw those gags in Mad magazine, or wherever else they do corny humour, and thought “that’s such a stupid joke; it says right on the tag not to be removed EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER”.

Really, this is a fairly common consumer protection requirement.

Auto dealers have stickers on the windows of all their cars; the law requires the presence of the sticker and even dictates much of the language on it.

Any new appliance you are looking at in the store will have an EPA sticker giving the energy requirements of the appliance; this info is required.

Most clothing has required tags on it, giving info about the materials it’s made of, and even washing & care instructions.

There’s really nothing so unusual about this.

Well yeah, but I wasn’t willing to eat the mattress just to pull the tag off :smack:

As Polycarp, CalMeacham and Voyager have pointed out, this tag was the brunt of jokes for decades (and even referenced as recently as the cinematic epic “PeeWee’s Big Adventure”). Even though the phrase “except by consumer” was added, you still can get a chuckle or two from this.

Anyway, I always thought the tag guaranteed “all new material”. I never figured out why that would matter - unless you were worried that some unscrupulous company would recycle pillows and mattresses from a tuberculosis ward.

I think that was really the point of the tag. In stuffed items, you have no idea what’s really inside and I don’t find it had to believe unscupulous manufacturers might reuse materials to save a buck. I do wonder if there was a specific incidence that prompted the tags.

Oh, good, I thought I was the only one who actually asked their parents about this :smiley:

Not the new version. But in the old version, every house had at least one sofa or mattress with this ugly tag hanging down saying “Do not remove under penalty of law” - which we all assumed meant us too. Hey, we were law abiding back then. :slight_smile: It seemed such an odd thing to not be allowed to remove.

That old NatLamp cover was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread. Here’s a link to the February, 1972 “Crime” issue!