The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice concerning the FTC's Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (Textile Act) and the Wool Products Labeling Act (Wool Act), collectively known as the Textile Rules. Through this notice, which will be published shortly and is now available on the FTC's Web site, the Commission is announcing a "Second Chance" policy for minor and inadvertent violations of certain provisions of the Rules.
As detailed in the notice, about 17.7 billion textiles were sold in the United States in 2001, and about 3,400 companies participated in manufacturing, importing, and selling these items. The goal of the "second chance" policy is to increase overall compliance with the Textile Rules while minimizing the burden on business caused by inadvertent labeling errors that are not likely to cause injury to consumers.
For many years, the staff of the Commission has been receiving reports from business about minor mislabeling problems and requests for advice on how to handle them. In certain circumstances, the Commission staff has advised companies that it would not recommend enforcement action. The Federal Register notice states that the Commission believes it will be useful to publicly announce this policy, for the benefit of those companies that are not aware that they have the option of self-reporting and are seeking a one-time reprieve from the expense of re-labeling mislabeled goods. The notice announced today describes the requirements of the current labeling rules and describes situations in which businesses can request a one-time waiver of the rules because of inadvertent labeling mistakes. The "Second Chance" policy is already in effect, but the FTC is accepting comments for 30 days, until December 31, 2002, and will consider changes in the policy if comments point out ways in which the policy could be more effective. The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notices was 5-0. (FTC File No. P948404; staff contact is Connie M. Vecellio, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2966.)