Jump to content
Guest JulieAub

Can I sell a chair without fire safety label on ebay?

Recommended Posts

I think the arm covers would be under A5.1 Permanent, loose and stretch covers and should meet Schedule 5, Part 1 of the regulations which is the match test and permanently labeled accordingly. Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/ all the links are there except FIRA guide which is  Fire safety of furniture and furnishings in the home - A Guide to the UK Regulations

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Amelia

Hi Tom

I am considering selling some small to medium sized second hand pieces, eg from brick-a-brack to a sideboard, which will be covered in paper or fabric and varnished.  The paper may be maps or craft paper and the fabric is the patchwork type.  None of these come with fire labels.  Do the fire safety regulations only cover soft furnishings like sofas and cushions?

Many thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993) set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings(cushions etc) and other products containing upholstery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lisa

Dear Mr Sutton

I have read your posts over the last 4 years and would like to say I think you are incredible for providing so many people with help on this topic! To add to the variety on this site, can I please ask about renting an apartment with furniture in? I have discovered that one piece of my 3-piece leather seating arrangement does not appear to have a fire safety label. All three pieces are made the same and were purchased at the same time and the other two pieces are clearly labelled. Now I wish to rent my apartment furnished. Is there a way to get a piece of furniture tested to check if it conforms with the requirements? It is a rather large 3 seat sofa so not easily transportable and the set was purchased new in 2005. I still have the sale receipts but sadly the company where it was purchased is no longer in business.

Many thanks for your advice!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The regulations require the manufacturer, importer and/or the retailer to be able to prove the materials used to upholster domestic furniture is cigarette/match resistance. This is done by having records to prove that this is the case and a permanent label is attached to the furniture given details of the manufacturer or importer so the enforcing authority can check the details.

These records are only required to be kept for five years so after that the permanent label is the only indication that the item of upholstered furniture is compliant with the regulations. Therefore it is up to the original purchaser to ensure the permanent label is attached to each piece of upholstered furniture and as far as I am aware after five years there is no way of checking the records so a new permanent label can be attached.

If it stays within the ownership of the original purchaser there is no problem, it is when passed on to new owners and the permanent label is missing, there in little one can do, if you need to prove the item of furniture is compliant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lucy

I bought a vintage mid century armchair from a shop near me in London about 6 years ago. I since found out the council had prosecuted the shop for selling illegal furniture. When I asked if mine was okay they said they would only know by setting it on fire! Seems a strange process...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that the manufacturer/importer only has to keep their records for five years, after that there is no way of proving if an item of upholstered furniture is compliant with the regulations and the only way to prove it, is to test it, (setting it on fire) which would destroy it.

The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations apply to the sale of second hand furniture and furniture purchased at the first point of supply, i.e. retail sales.

A private individual can sell second hand furniture but it should be compliant with the above mentioned regulations. The difficulty in situations that arise where a person who IS NOT in trade or business commits a breach of consumer legislation is that Trading Standards have limited powers of enforcement where the sale is not in the course of trade or business.

As a moral issue I think you should tell the purchaser the full situation and if they decide to purchase it then that is up to them.

Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. Trading Standards http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/index.cfm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest Dee

Hello Tom,  I've just come across your posts and can I ask if it's illegal for me to sell (possibly on Gumtree eg) my dining room chairs even though I was the (silly) person to cut off the very large Fire Safety labels. The chairs were purchased from a large reputable furniture store 5 years ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like the large label you cut off was the display label which is only required when it is on display in the shop, the label you need to look for is permanent label which will be fixed permanently to each item of furniture.

If this is a one off sale and you are not a business then you are not subject to the regulations but I think you have a moral duty to inform the purchaser that the permanent label is missing , if it is, and allow the purchaser to decide.

Check out Fire safety of furniture and furnishings in the home - A Guide to the UK Regulations 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Ian H

Whilst this discussion is about selling furniture I was wondering where I stand if I give away non fire certified furniture on gum tree? I hate to throw stuff away but understandably charities won't take the sofa because it doesn't have the fire certification label (the matching chair did and they took that).  Rather than just take it to the tip I'd rather it went to someone who needs it but I'm nervous that I can't due to the lack of the label.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not being a business you are not subject to the regulations but i believe you have a moral duty to inform the recipient that the items of upholstered furniture does not carry a permanent label and allow him/her to decide but if it was me I would send it to the tip. 

Check out Fire safety of furniture and furnishings in the home - A Guide to the UK Regulations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Basil

Mr Sutton,

I had been considering buying a re-upholstered piece of furniture on eBay. The seller states that the re-upholstery fabric has integrated (ie not sprayed-on) flame retardancy and is labelled as such. However the supplier of the fabric used says that it has no flame / fire retardancy properties. I have become convinced that the flame retardancy claim is false. Is there a body to whom such claims should be reported?

Basil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I depends if it is a private seller or a business, private sellers are not subject to the legislation but businesses are. The enforcing authority is the Trading Standards so if it is a business then contact the local department.

Fire safety of furniture and furnishings in the home - A Guide to the UK Regulations

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, private sellers are subject to the Furniture Regulations. They apply to anyone supplying furniture in the UK, whether a business or an individual, private or otherwise. They don't apply to consumers, e.g. you can buy a sofa from say Germany for your private use, in the UK, but you can't then sell it on to someone else in the UK. The position with internet sellers is unclear. Ebay, Amazon, etc, claim that are not sellers, just agents for sellers. Which means they can provide you a sofa in the UK that is say from Germany and therefore not compliant with the Furniture Regs. Trading Standards has challenged this position, arguing that internet sellers are in fact sellers/suppliers and Amazon.co.uk therefore is based in the UK and should not be selling non-compliant furniture. But the situation remains unresolved to my knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I should clarify. FIRA used to be in effect a government agency. That was a long time ago. They are now a commercial organisation - a test house and a furniture association trade body. However, they like people to think they are some sort of official body. They aren't. Their guide to the Furniture Regulations was not approved by the government (despite FIRA trying to get it approved). Despite its faults, you're better off referring to the government's guide to the Regs: https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/aspx/pages/prevention/furnitureguide.pdf. The reason I'd be wary of FIRA is a) because in recent years, they have become ruthlessly commercial and b) their testing expertise and knowledge has declined considerably (probably due to focussing more on other commercial interests) - in my view, I should add.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2017 at 19:45, FRFree said:

Actually, private sellers are subject to the Furniture Regulations. They apply to anyone supplying furniture in the UK, whether a business or an individual, private or otherwise. They don't apply to consumers, e.g. you can buy a sofa from say Germany for your private use, in the UK, but you can't then sell it on to someone else in the UK. The position with internet sellers is unclear. Ebay, Amazon, etc, claim that are not sellers, just agents for sellers. Which means they can provide you a sofa in the UK that is say from Germany and therefore not compliant with the Furniture Regs. Trading Standards has challenged this position, arguing that internet sellers are in fact sellers/suppliers and Amazon.co.uk therefore is based in the UK and should not be selling non-compliant furniture. But the situation remains unresolved to my knowledge.

The above guide states "The Regulations apply to all persons in the business supply chain from the supply of materials for use in furniture and furnishings through to supply of the finished article. They affect:" follow by a list of businesses and it doesn't mention private individuals, why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest FRFree

A consumer is not supplying furniture; he/she is receiving it from a supplier. If the consumer wants to sell on the product, they then become a supplier and are subject to the regulations. I was the lead on these Regulations for many years at the Department for Business, so can confirm that government lawyers were satisfied that they do not apply to consumers.

[Having to comment as a guest since the site won't let me sign in, for some reason.]

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully accept that consumers are not subject to the regulations but when you read "Suppliers affected" in the above document nowhere does it say private individuals, who are not businesses, are subject either. Could you please point me to where I could get clarification.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cathy

I am somewhat alarmed by FRFree said on 20 Dec above re. Amazon UK and its sellers - I had always assumed that as suppliers of furnishings to UK, they would have to keep to the regulations, and as a landlord, I could be confident that new products ordered from Amazon UK would comply.  This came to my attention through purchasing an article - fortunately for my own house - from a seller, Natalia Spzoo - and noticing the lack of labels when it arrived.  I then saw they explicitly answered this question, basically saying that since they are based in Poland, they are exempt, and they can supply to UK without worries.  Are they correct, and if so, shouldn't they, or Amazon UK, at least have an obligation to note under the article specifications that the item does not comply with UK regulations and would be unsuitable for a landlord to supply to tenants?  Here is the answer they gave: 

"Question: Does this comply with british standard fire regulations. thanks.

Dear Customer,
Thank you for your email.
I would like to inform you that we are a manufacturer and distributor, which means we produce the items ourselves and we sell them from outside the UK.
we are classified as an overseas company and consequently are not governed by the same UK safety regulations which means , we can sell products that comply with European standards.
On the website of European Committee for Standardization, you can check that the standards in European Union are voluntary, as per
Standard No: EN 597-1 , EN 597-2
FAQs:
https://www.cen.eu/helpers/Pages/faq.aspx (please check Question 7 from this link)
I hope this answer your enquiry.
Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Best wishes,
Natalia Franczyk
Natalia Spzoo (Natalia GmbH)

By Natalia Spzoo  on 24 July 2017

"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to agree what they have said, as the regulation only apply to manufacturers,suppliers and retailers located in the UK and as I understand both are not located in the UK, one Poland the others head office is in Ireland. As I see it, the purchaser has the control not to buy if it does not meet the regulations, and if the advert does not indicate it meets the regulations, then contact the seller to confirm this. It does have to have a CEN mark and meet European law, which is explained in the link above. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom said: 

I fully accept that consumers are not subject to the regulations but when you read "Suppliers affected" in the above document nowhere does it say private individuals, who are not businesses, are subject either. Could you please point me to where I could get clarification. 

I'm not clear what you mean by 'private individuals'. However, the Department for Business has been clear about who needs to comply, i.e anyone who supplies furniture (to someone else). This means, for example, furniture retailers in the UK or landlords supplying to their tenants. But they don't apply to someone who has bought the furniture for their own use. Therefore, you or I can buy say a sofa from Germany which does not comply with the UK regs; that's perfectly legal. But we cannot later sell it on within the UK to another consumer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Natalia:

Unfortunately, you cannot be confident that furniture bought from Amazon UK is compliant with the UK Regs. Amazon sells furniture in the UK from outside the country and claims it can do so because it is not a retailer, it just acts as an agent for the e.g. Belgian retailer. Trading Standards challenged Amazon about this, pointing out that Amazon provides a guarantee and deals with any problems therefor it is a supplier; however, Amazon kept insisting that they are in effect not a supplier. Trading Standards paid for legal advice which concluded that Amazon, Ebay, etc, are in fact suppliers but this does not appear to have had any effect. Amazon did agree to remove a sofa that Trading Standards had focussed on but not by agreeing they were suppliers, i.e. they are still supplying plenty of other non-compliant bits of furniture.

You are right to be concerned since a tenant could of course sue you if there was a fire in a sofa/mattress that you supplied that does not comply with the UK Regs. This is because as a landlord, you are a supplier under the regulations.

Natalia Spzoo is correct to say that they can supply non-compliant furniture to the UK if they are supplying direct to a UK consumer from their base in Poland. However, if they are supplying in the UK via Amazon UK then Trading Standards at least is of the view that their products must comply.  

They are also correct to state that standards are voluntary. However, the UK Regs are not standards, they're legislation and therefore are not voluntary; they're compulsory. I note that they don't mention the fact that there is an EN standard for furniture flammability - match and cigarette test - but as far as we know no EU manufacture complies with the match test; some do with the cigarette test, mainly because that can be achieved without the use of flame retardant chemicals. It might be worth asking them if Amazon UK is their UK retailer (although I suspect they're aware of the dangers of answering that).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks FRFree for putting me straight I have checked out article 14 of the 88 regs and I can now see how I got it wrong and using private and business was wrong I should have used consumer and supplier which makes it easy to understand. 

I was always thought that the FIRA guidance was easier to understand, but is it misleading, if so how badly and also the government guidance has been achieved.  

Again thanks your input it has been most useful. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom. This is of course just my view! But the problem with FIRA is similar to what has happened with BRE, British Standards, and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist. All started more or less as government agencies but all are now commercial concerns, some still receiving government funding also (as with British Standards). FIRA used to in effect be the government's voice on the Furniture Regs. However, it has long ceased to be connected to the government, even though it likes to strongly imply that this is the case (for obvious reasons). Also, it became much more commercially-minded a few years ago by appointing someone who better remain nameless for now but who has her own PR company; that and FIRA becoming part of BM Trada. In my experience this means that FIRA has become less technically expert in testing (concentrating more on other sides to their business) and has also made several questionable alliances. One such is that they work very closely with the flame retardant and chemical treatment industries. This has resulted in the situation where FIRA contributed test research work that proved the government's current match test in the Regulations doesn't work and its proposed new one does. Yet today FIRA claims there is nothing wrong with the current test and lies that the new one will require more not less flame retardants. Why? Well, the new match test would hugely reduce the use of flame retardants . . . In the meantime, people are dying in house fires that arise due to the fact the current match test doesn't work in more than 89% of cases. FIRA knows this and yet is actively preventing safety changes going through.

As for their guide . . . I don't really want to go into all the details but let's just say it shows their lack of technical expertise. This also became apparent when the government went out to tender test houses for a new match test. The test house that won provided a coherent and well-argued new test (that was eventually taken up). FIRA not only could not come up with a new test, what they did present made little sense. 

But, as said, the government's guide badly needs amending too. Unfortunately, the Department for Business currently has no one working on these Regulations with any understanding of them, or desire to get them made safe. They went out to consultation in Sep. 2016, which included the new match test (once again!) but still have not issued a response. They had a couple of meetings in the consultation period to discuss the proposals, but almost everyone they invited was from the chemical industry or friends of FIRA who do not want change.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×