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Is it Really Illegal to Remove Mattress Tags?

Why is it that mattresses come with pesky tags, proclaiming it’s punishable by law to remove them? Is it really true that removing a tag is illegal? We don’t keep tags on our clothes after we buy them – why does a mattress tag have to stay attached?

If you’ve ever wondered about mattress tags (and have been tempted to remove them) know that removal is illegal – for some.

That’s right. The notification that the removal of mattress tags is punishable by law is not directed at everyone. In actuality, it’s just for the mattress manufacturers. Consumers, on the other hand, can safely remove these tags after purchase if they so choose – without any fear of consequence.

Here’s why.

The purpose of a mattress tag is to let consumers know exactly what’s inside the mattress (what it’s made of) and to reassure them that the mattress is in fact a new item that’s never been sold previously. In this way, mattress tags are there to serve the consumer. You wouldn’t want a mattress that’s been manufactured with material you’re allergic to, or that isn’t what you believe you’re paying for, right?

Prior to the early twentieth century, mattresses were made of a lot of different materials, ranging in quality. You might have a manufacturer claiming that a mattress is made of the finest cotton money can buy, when really, on the inside it’s just a mix of something like straw and paper. Even worse, the manufacturer could be using recycled materials containing bacteria or bed bugs. 

Of particular concern to the government was the risk of manufacturers re-selling mattresses that had been in hospitals, where mattresses could contain and spread dangerous communicable diseases to the wider population.

When the government required that tags be added to list a mattress’s “ingredients”, the manufacturers that weren’t using those high-quality materials naturally didn’t want consumers to know. So, they’d rip off the tags before mattresses hit the retailers’ showroom floors. They could “technically” say they’d added tags, but those tags weren’t coming across consumer eyes.

It wasn’t too long before the government caught wind of what some mattress manufacturers were up to. It’s for that reason they required a notice be added on every tag, stating that it’s punishable by law to remove or damage a tag. It was a message directed toward the mattress manufacturers and retailers selling to consumers, so that there were consequences associated with tag tampering.

Not surprisingly, the initial addition of that legal language confused many consumers, so much so that in the 1990s, the government changed it to read: “Do Not Remove by Penalty of Law Except by the Consumer”.

As a consumer, all you need to know is that whether a tag stays on your mattress or not is completely up to you once you’ve purchased it. Tag or no tag – it’s your choice!

For more on mattresses (and to find a quality mattress of your own) visit Shovlin Mattress Factory online or visit us at our showroom in Fanwood, NJ.

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