Used products failed to meet State consumer protection standards
Inspectors for the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation have cracked down on illegal sales of used mattresses at two large Calexico swap meets.
Six BHFTI inspectors and two Calexico Police officers teamed up to seize more than 380 mattresses during the Sept. 16-18 enforcement action at the St. Thomas and Las Palmas swap meets.
Approximately 10 retailers were selling dirty, unsanitized mattresses priced from $5 to $35 from stalls at the swap meets. Bureau inspectors issued several “Notices of Violation” listing multiple violations of the California Business and Professions Code. Violations included unlicensed sales of mattresses, selling used mattresses that have not been properly sanitized and labeled, and selling stained or soiled mattresses.
The potential threat to consumers posed by used mattresses is not new, according to Lynn Morris, Chief of the Bureau.
“If they aren’t careful, consumers looking for a bargain bed can end up buying a bad nightmare,” said Morris. “For nearly a century, California has protected consumers with laws requiring used mattresses to be clean, sanitized and properly labeled.”
“Inspections at retail stores sometimes identify illegal products, but the scope of the problem at these swap meets exceeds what we’re used to seeing. We were dealing with hundreds of mattresses, many of them filthy and foul-smelling,” Morris explained.
A total of 383 mattresses were removed from sale at the swap meets. Of these, 113 were disposed of at a nearby landfill. Fifteen others were cut to render them unfit for sale, with the retailer ordered to dispose of them. Retailers were allowed to ship 255 items out of the state, across the border to Mexico.
Morris said that similar swap-meet inspections are planned at other locations throughout the state.
California law requires all retailers of mattresses and upholstered furniture to be licensed by BHFTI.
Health and safety standards specify that used or rebuilt mattress must be sanitized with a disinfectant process. The products must be properly labeled to inform consumers that they contain used filling material but have been sanitized. It is also illegal to sell a mattress with a visibly stained or soiled cover, or to sell a rebuilt mattress with a stained or soiled cover concealed beneath a new cover.
The Bureau has the authority to condemn, withhold from sale, seize or destroy any upholstered furniture or bedding or any filling material or insulation which is found to be in violation of laws regarding the manufacture and sale of these products. BHFTI seizes products that fail to meet state sanitization and flammability regulations.
Consumers can take a few easy steps to ensure upholstered furniture and mattresses meet state standards. In the case of used mattresses, consumers should examine the product for visible stains or soiling, look for the label attached to the product verifying it has been sanitized, and check that the retailer and manufacturer are properly licensed.
Nathan Montery is a successful author and regular contributor to http://mattressreviews.co. Choose from a large variety of mattress types and get a good night’s sleep!