Care Labeling Rule: Should it be repealed?

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FTC rules can have a substantial impact on businesses and on the everyday lives of consumers. As part of its ongoing review of existing rules, the FTC periodically seeks your input on whether a particular one still performs its desired function or if it’s been overtaken by changes in technology or the marketplace. Next in the review queue is a rule that’s been around for almost 50 years and the FTC is asking if it should be repealed. It’s the Care Labeling Rule and as explained in a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we’d appreciate your comments on that proposal.

In place since 1971 and updated a number of times since then, the Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers of apparel and certain piece goods to attach labels to their products disclosing how to care for the item. Over the years, the FTC has received numerous comments about the practical impact of the Rule and hosted a roundtable in 2014, where we heard from consumers, industry members, scientific experts, and others with an interest in care labeling. According to the Supplemental Notice, “[T]he record suggests that the Rule may not be necessary to ensure manufacturers provide care instructions, may have failed to keep up with a dynamic marketplace, and may negatively affect the development of new technologies and disclosures.”

The Supplemental Notice, which will be published soon in the Federal Register, poses 15 specific questions related to the future of the Care Labeling Rule. You’ll want to read the Notice for details, but here’s the FTC’s big-picture “ask”:

The Commission seeks comment on the costs, benefits, and market effects of repealing the Rule as proposed, and particularly the cost on small businesses. Comments opposing the proposed repeal should explain the reasons they believe the Rule is still needed and, if appropriate, suggest specific alternatives.

Once the Supplemental Notice appears in the Federal Register, you’ll have 60 days to file a public comment. (The Notice includes detailed instructions on how to do that.) Save some steps by filing online at www.regulations.gov.


 

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