NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FTC Goes After Bridal-Shop Owners

June 1, 1999

The Federal Trade Commission has found a dangerous new miscreant: owners of bridal shops who remove tags from wedding gowns. In the past six to eight months, FTC bureaucrats have sent more than 3,000 warning letters to retailers and manufacturers warning them that removing labels is illegal without substituting another label.

  • Shearing off the label violates the Textile Act and the FTC's Care Labeling Rule.
  • Critics charge that some retailers remove the tags so would-be brides can't comparison shop or buy the dress over the Internet.
  • But vendors argue they are just trying to protect themselves from "free-riding" by no-inventory dress dealers who advise customers to go and try on the dress at a salon, find out the name of the manufacturer and return to them to fill their orders.
  • Bridal retail experts say that practice and Internet sales have ravaged the industry -- turning traditional retail facilities into nothing more than showrooms.

But the FTC isn't having it. "Now that there can be no uncertainty about what is required, we expect full compliance," says the agency's associate director of enforcement.

Source: Cindy Skrzycki, "Wedding Gown Shops Bridled by FTC," Washington Post, May 28, 1999.


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