Utah repeals online law label requirement

Industry officials said it would be difficult to provide accurate labeling for special-order upholstery not yet manufactured

HIGH POINT — The state of Utah has repealed a requirement for e-commerce sites to display a uniform law label for bedding, upholstered furniture and quilted clothing online.

According to the American Home Furnishings Alliance, the decision was in response to industry concerns that it would be difficult to provide an accurate upholstery law label for special-order product that has not yet been manufactured.

AHFA staff, along with AHFA member company executives, have been in discussion with Utah officials for several months regarding the law label requirement, which intially went into effect Jan. 1.

The goal of the law was to inform consumers buying these products online that they are made with hygienically clean materials such as cotton, wool and down as well as other man-made or synthetic fibers. The state planned to audit and notify websites of any violations between Jan. 1 and June 1. Starting in June, it planned to fine companies for violations.

As part of its discussions with the state of Utah, the AHFA organized tours for three Utah officials of Century and Craftmaster upholstery plants in North Carolina to explain why an accurate law label cannot be created before the product is manufactured.

“Customer options for foam and other filling materials would result in dozens of possible variations to the law label,” the AHFA said. “Further, companies with multiple factory locations might shift production locations depending on a variety of factors not known at the time the order is placed. One Utah retailer estimated it would take thousands of hours for its technology team to design and upload the range of possible law labels for just one vendor.”

Last month, the AHFA also raised industry concerns with members of the Utah legislature and also met with Utah Commissioner of Agriculture Craig Buttars to discuss the issue.

In response, state officials took action on Feb. 2 to remove the provisions. AHFA said it has agreed to continue working with state officials to develop industry “best practices” for conveying important product information to online consumers, including providing details on the content of various cushion/filling options available for special-order upholstery.”

It noted that a timeline for future revisions has not been established.

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