The National Bed Federation (NBF), which is a national trade body for the furniture industry, is launching a new scheme designed to catch out unscrupulous traders who are giving customers a raw deal.
The authority will begin randomly testing mattresses and beds from the market to see how they stack up against its Code of Practice.
President, Tony Lisanti, hopes the new Due Diligence Testing Programme will “take [its] fight against rogue traders to the next level” and said the scheme is designed to enhance its Code of Practice audit process.
The programme follows a successful pilot earlier this year and beginning this month, around 50 mattresses and beds will be bought annually for testing.
The furniture will be tested on things like flammability and will be cut open to check whether their specifications match marketing claims.
Several mobility bed specialists have been caught out in recent years for misleading marketing claims so it is hoped these measures will help to combat such practices.
Mr Lisanti told Furniture News: “The NBF’s Code of Practice, with its comprehensive, regular audits – compulsory for all NBF manufacturer members – has resulted in massive strides in raising standards, improving awareness and tightening procedures in bed manufacturing in the UK.”
But he added that more needs to be done to regulate the industry.
As well as randomly-selected furniture, the programme will also test products as advised by credible tip-offs expressed by third parties.
The results of the tests will be shared with member and non-member companies and the most concerning findings could be referred to Trading Standards.
Cases like this involving members could result in suspension or expulsion from the trade body, the NBF warned.
NBF executive director Jessica Alexander added: “All along, the NBF Code of Practice has been about reassuring customers that what they’re buying from NBF members is safe, clean and honest.
“They can’t look inside a mattress to see what’s there, so they have to take on trust what they’re told it contains.
“With this new random testing programme we aim to go a step further towards exposing the dishonesty that so frustrates reputable traders.
“We want to make people think twice about what they’re buying, especially if it looks like a great bargain. We also hope it will give customers even further reassurance that buying a product made by an NBF member is worth it.”