What is a Law Label?
Many years ago, a number of states determined that articles for sale with hidden filling material (mattresses, cushions, pillows, etc.) needed labeling to protect the consumer. After all, you can’t see what’s in a mattress. Manufacturers could fill such products with pine needles, corn husks, or any other loose material, and the buyer would never know. The law label is required as a binding agreement between the seller and buyer to describe filling materials which would otherwise remain a mystery.
There are two categories of law labels – those for new products, and those for preowned products. At the very top, there is a small amount of blank space that allows for a label printed on Tyvek® to be sewn onto the product being sold. Then, the first statement, in all caps, bold and easy to read : "UNDER PENALTY OF LAW THIS TAG NOT TO BE REMOVED EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER”. A common misconception is that the label should never be removed, even by the person who bought the product. While it is a good idea to leave it on after buying, you don’t have to worry about the label police coming if you decide to cut it off in your own home.
The difference between labels for new and used products is very straightforward – new items get a white label, used items get a yellow label (in most cases). Instantly, both the seller and the buyer can tell one from the other. There are other color law labels in use – red and green. But to date, we have received no requests for red or green law labels. If you need them, please contact us immediately.
And of course the label describes the filling contents. If it is a new product, the contents must be expressly listed. If it is a used item, the contents are usually unknown, unless the item has been renovated. After all, how does the seller know, for certain, what the filling is in a second hand item? Even if that item came to them with the original new label on it! Such a label would need to be removed, and the item retagged with the statement that the filling contents are unknown.
Requirements vary greatly from state to state as to what information must be included on a law label. Some states require a Registration number, some states require a Permit number, and some states require both. To get more information on this, please refer to this website: iabflo.org. Also contact any appropriate regulators in your state for precise label specifications.
There is another statement, below the Registration and Permit number area, on law labels: the certification statement. On new labels, this certification includes “by the manufacturer”. On second hand labels, you normally do not see “by the manufacturer”, because the seller will not make manufacturer statements for a preowned item.
Below this, you may see “Contents Sanitized”. This statement is commonly required for used items. It can be for new items as well, if the filling material contains animal products such as feathers or goose down.
Near the bottom, you have a line that can say many different things: Sold By, Distributed By, Sanitized by, etc. This line varies depending on the requirements imposed by the product, and also the identity of the company that attaches the label to the product. Below this is optional information, but well worth knowing – the name and contact information of the seller or distributor.
Oftentimes at the bottom of the label there is more information, such as “Made In ”, or an area for a date. This information can be useful or required, depending on the item, state regulations, and the needs of the seller.
Finally, some companies want to add a barcode at the bottom for fast and easy product identification. This is completely valid and entirely optional.
What about other labels?
There are other required labels besides the traditional law labels that are similar but serve different purposes. For example, some products require flammability labels. This is an additional label –it does not replace the original law label. However, larger combination labels can accommodate both the law label information and the flammability information.
Finally there is the mattress label. A mattress is easily the most complex product that gets a law label. Oftentimes a mattress requires detailed descriptions. Specifications include size, weight, Model name, Prototype ID, Foundation ID, and the materials of the cover and border. Many manufacturers also want other information added, such as a Lot number, a Date of Delivery line, or a Warranty code. Once all of this text is assembled, you have a ton of information, sometimes spread over two or three labels.
That’s why the combination label is a popular option – it combines the original All New Materials law label, and the mattress label, along with flammability information. Of course such a label must be larger to include all of the necessary text and keep it at a readable size. But it sure makes things easier only having one label to attach to the mattress, instead of two or three.
We are continually adding new label products to our store, with various formats and customization options. If you are looking for a particular label and cannot locate it on our store, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for visiting the Bison Printing Law Label Store!