Bedding Safety Warning
The OFT is warning local consumers to be on their guard following instances of highly flammable ‘memory foam’ mattresses, mattress toppers and pillows being sold by rogue traders in the UK, often house to house or through the classifieds in local newspapers.
The goods concerned appear to be very heavily discounted but what may appear to be a bargain could turn out to be a potential death trap. They may not be labelled appropriately or at all and the associated packaging may not carry any brand information, manufacturer’s details or barcode.
Unbranded memory foam mattress topper packaging:
Unbranded memory foam pillow packaging:
It is a criminal offence to sell goods that do not comply with the relevant safety legislation, in this case the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and/or section 8 (General safety requirement) of the Consumer Protection Act 1991. Any trader found guilty is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding £5,000 or to both. In addition, the goods concerned may be liable to forfeiture.
Genuine traders should be aware of the appropriate labelling requirements which show that products have passed vigorous fire safety tests.
Consumers who deal with rogue traders on the doorstep often don’t know who they have dealt with as they generally demand payment in cash, rarely give receipts and typically advertise using ‘pay as you go’ mobile phone numbers which they frequently change to avoid contact.
Anyone who has purchased a product of this type from a doorstep trader, that is to say a trader without any permanent premises, and who has doubts as to its safety should contact Trading Standards on 686520 for advice.
David Quirk MHK, the Chairman of the OFT, said: "Consumers should stick to genuine traders, for example the local shops, when purchasing these products unless they are prepared to run the risk of purchasing a potential death trap just to bag what may appear to be a bargain. Genuine traders will be aware of the relevant safety requirements. Avoid the obvious pitfalls of dealing with doorstep traders".