WASHINGTON — As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the agency has been seeking public comment on a proposed repeal of the Care Labeling Rule.
Formally called the Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, the Rule has been in effect since 1971. The Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach labels with care instructions for garments and certain piece goods, providing instructions for dry cleaning or washing, bleaching, drying, and ironing clothing.
The Rule may not be necessary to ensure garment manufacturers provide care instructions, may have failed to keep up with a dynamic marketplace, and may negatively affect the development of new cleaning technologies and care symbol revisions, the FTC states.
Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who opposes repealing the Rule, contacted American Drycleaner this week to remind launderers and dry cleaners that the public comment period will end on Monday, Sept. 21.
“We’re all familiar with these tags, which can help families figure out how to care for their clothes. It isn’t just consumers who care. Professional laundry services, including dry cleaners and wash-and-folds, have told me that they also rely on these labels so they can provide good service for their customers’ clothing,” Chopra says.
“Some have raised concerns that eliminating requirements for care labeling could shift risk – and even liability – from manufacturers to professional cleaners. If cleaners must make their best guess on how to clean a garment, they won’t be able to point to the care label when things go wrong. Compliance with care labels can even affect insurance coverage for professional cleaners.”
He says it’s critical that the FTC hear from small businesses, especially those struggling to stay afloat.
“Small businesses need government to help them survive, not accelerate their demise. I hope families and businesses affected by this proposal will make their views heard.”
The notice requests comments from the public on a number of questions, including the costs and benefits to manufacturers, cleaners and consumers if the Rule is repealed or retained; what deceptive or unfair practices exist in the marketplace related to care labeling; the impact of repeal on the care instructions manufacturers currently provide to consumers; and whether manufacturers would bear additional costs to make substantiated and accurate disclosures to consumers in the absence of the Rule.
Interested parties may offer comment through Regulations.gov; click the “Comment Now!” button and follow the directions.