U.S. – FTC Seeks Public Comments on whether to Repeal, Amend or Retain Leather Guides

Vol. 1062 | March 07, 2019

As part of the systemic review of all the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comments on whether to repeal, amend or retain the Guides for Select Leather and Imitation Leather Products, 16 CFR 24 (Leather Guides).

The Leather Guides address misrepresentations about the composition and characteristics of leather and imitation leather products, and apply to the manufacture, promotion, and distribution of leather and imitation leather purses, luggage, wallets, footwear and other items.

The notice seeks comments on whether such guide is required, if there are still deceptive practices for marketing of leather or imitation leather products and if the guides are revised if their scope should be expanded to cover products that are not currently included in the scope. Specifically, the FTC is seeking comments on following questions:

  1. Is there a continuing need for the Leather Guides?
  2. Are any specific provisions of the Leather Guides no longer necessary?
  3. Are the deceptive or unfair practices addressed by the Leather Guides prevalent in the marketplace? Are the Guides effective in addressing those practices?
  4. Are there deceptive or unfair practices in the selling of leather or imitation leather products in other industries that are not covered by the Leather Guides, such as automotive and furniture upholstery products? If so, what is the extent of misrepresentations in those industries? How do consumers interpret or perceive the appearance of leather or simulated leather in those industries? Should the FTC expand the Guides to cover these or other products? What compliance costs would be imposed on these industries if the FTC were to expand the Guides? Are there any special considerations for those industries? Are there alternatives, such as individual enforcement actions under the FTC Act, that would be more effective or equally effective in addressing those practices?
  5. Have covered businesses adopted the Leather Guides as part of their routine business practice? Have uncovered businesses adopted the Leather Guides as part of their routine business practice? What is the degree of compliance with the Guides? How, and what effect, if any, does this have on the continuing need for the Guides? Do covered or uncovered businesses self-regulate or have voluntary standards or guidance, such as through trade associations, which overlap with the Leather Guides?
  6. What benefits, if any, have the Leather Guides provided to consumers of the products affected by the Leather Guides? Do the Leather Guides impose any significant costs on consumers?
  7. What impact, if any, have the Leather Guides had on the flow of truthful or deceptive information to consumers?
  8. What changes, if any, should be made to the Leather Guides to increase their benefits to consumers? How would these changes affect consumer benefits or business costs?
  9. What burdens or costs, including costs of compliance, have the Leather Guides imposed on covered businesses? What burdens or costs have the Leather Guides imposed on small businesses in particular? Have the Leather Guides provided benefits to businesses? If so, what benefits?
  10. What changes, if any, should be made to the Leather Guides to reduce the burdens or costs imposed on businesses? How would these changes affect consumer benefits or business costs?
  11. Do the Leather Guides overlap or conflict with federal, state, or local laws or regulations? Do the Leather Guides overlap or conflict with any international laws or regulations?
  12. Have consumer perceptions changed since the Leather Guides were issued and, if so, do these changes warrant revising the Leather Guides?
  13.  Since the Leather Guides were issued, what effects, if any, have changes in relevant technological, economic, or environmental conditions had on the need for or usefulness of the Leather Guides?

Deadline for submitting public comments is April 22, 2019.

The Federal Register notice with request for comments can be reviewed at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-03-06/pdf/2019-03970.pdf

For questions, please contact Stella Li (xingyu.li@intertek.com, +1 503.351.9612) or Pratik Ichhaporia (pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com, +1-847-212-8273).

 

 

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