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Joanna McD

Advice please on new sofa bought without any fire protection labels

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Hello there,

I have had a quick look through and can't see a problem similar to mine already posted but apologies if this has been answered before.

My Dad purchased a new three piece suite through an ebay seller. It said the product location was London, he paid almost £3,000 for it. It was delivered last Friday (came from Poland) but it has no permanent Fire safety label and no removable fire safety label. Having done some research we are very concerned with this.

We asked the seller why it has no labels and he has simply sent a screen shot of a fire safety label for us to print down along with reassurance it is safe as it was made within the EU!

We aren't happy with this but he is stating no refunds.

Can I ask (A) should sofas made in the EU have the labels attached and (b) if te seller is in the UK shouldn't he have made sure it had them before selling to us?

We are so worried at the potential danger.

Any advice/guidance is appreciated.

Many thanks, Jo.

 

 

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I believe you will find it is just a UK address that was used, so it is NOT a UK seller, I myself have ordered products listed on ebay, (UK address) only to find they come direct from China.

If you paid by credit card or PayPal they may be able to help.

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If the manufacturer is outside the UK then they are not subject to the Furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/ however if any manufacturer/supplier/retailer is in the UK they are subject to the FFFSR.

The enforcing autority is the trading standards and you should contact the local office and present your case to them.

From a reliable source it appears that 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 the item 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.

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Key here is who is the supplier. If it is ebay, then what Tom says applies - although in practice you'll find ebay will deny they are the supplier. They'll say they're just the agent for the supplier based in Poland. If this is true, then the sofa does not have to comply with the UK's Furniture Regulations - although, of course, your dad should have been informed that was the case. However, it appears as if the seller in this case is based in London and has admitted in effect to being the supplier. This means he has supplied your dad with an illegal product. It is both ludicrous and possibly criminal of him to suggest that slapping on a photograph of the permanent label makes your sofa legal! First, the label reflects the fact that the sofa has passed the required Furniture Regs' tests - which this clearly has not. Second, it is not true to say it's safe because it was made in the EU. It may or may not comply with EU fire safety regulations but even if it does, these do not apply in the UK and the UK has much more stringent fire safety regs for sofas (even if they don't actually work!). But in any case, where it was manufactured is irrelevant; the legal issue is that he is a supplier based in the UK and therefore is legally bound to supply sofas that comply with UK law.

I agree: you should take this case to Trading Standards, quoting the facts as above. Trading Standards are severely strapped for cash and cannot often even afford to buy sofas to test them! However, in this case they do not need to, since the very fact that the supplier has admitted the sofa only complies with EU law and has suggested falsely placing the UK permanent label on the product should be sufficient for TS to threaten prosecution, seek a refund, etc.

The good news, as such, is that your dad is not breaking the law by owning a sofa that does not comply with the UK regs; it's the supplier who is breaking the law. The not so good news is that you do not know how fire-safe it is; also, your dad cannot pass/sell it on because then he becomes a supplier to whom the law does apply.

 

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11 hours ago, FRFree said:

 also, your dad cannot pass/sell it on because then he becomes a supplier to whom the law does apply.

Only asking. Are you sure that last statement is correct, since the "dad" is a private individual and the law does not apply to private sellers.

Quote

Upholsterers are subject to the regulations and furniture upholstered by them should carry permanent labels. As you are not a business, selling upholstered furniture, you are not subject to the regulation and if you chose to sell or give away

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Green-foam that's my fault it was the way I interpreted article 14 of The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 , the use of word private individual/business is not  totally correct and consumer/ supplier is more correct. So if you sell a piece of upholstered Furniture or Furnishings you are a supplier (subject to the regulations) and if you purchase it then you are the consumer (not subject to the regulations unless you are in a business whose purposes is dealing in furniture).

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Yes, anyone who sells a piece of furniture in the UK is a 'supplier' under the Furniture Regs. Technically, this also applies to anyone giving away furniture for free. In practice, of course, it is highly unlikely that Trading Standards would know about or, if they did, bother to pursue an individual who's given away a second-hand sofa. It's worth bearing in mind that these Regulations are woefully out of date, not having been amended for nearly 30 years or so. Unfortunately, the Department for Business which is responsible for these Regs has deliberately ensured that the officials now 'working' on keep blocking all attempts for updating. Why? A long and complicated story but essentially in order to cover their backs. For more info, check out: www.toxicsofa.com.

 

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Guest Bill

Well i have just purchased a corner unit sofa and after examining it there are NO fire labels on it at all and it came direct from a well known furniture shop here in the UK. So what are my options thank you in advance

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That's a question you should have asked before you purchased the sofa, all you can do now is to accept it, try and return it or report it to trading standards and see what they have to say.

I have just purchased two sofas and when I asked if it has fire labels I was told they cannot sell them without a fire label but very few people ask and are far more concerned with the price, which I guess is true. 

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Guest Alan

I used to manufacture three piece suites. The law states that new upholstery sold in the UK must comply with the 1988 regs regarding foam and fabrics but it also states that each item must have a display label which is easily visible stating that the item complies with the 1988 regulations. This is usually a green square card 10cm square hanging on a string. Each item must also have a permanent label which is usually sewn in or stapled underneath the item.

Even if the goods are fire retardant and comply with the regs they must also carry the correct labels. Being sent a picture of one is not good enough.

It is ultimately the uk manufacturers or importers responsibility.

My opinion then is that it would depend where you were invoiced from. Did you even get a proper invoice. Or on the ebay selling page at the bottom if they are a business seller they will show who the seller is and their address. If it was sold or invoiced from Poland then I believe you would be seen as the importer and therefore the one responsible for ensuring the goods comply with the regulations and the factory in Poland has done nothing legally wrong. If it is a uk address then the seller it seems has not complied with the necessary regulations because there are no labels.

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Guest Fred

ive just bought a sofa bed from a second hand furniture shop which has no fire safety labels, is this illegal?

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