The West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association continues to offer guidance to pro dealer members in the wake of a$1.6 million Lowe’s settlement regarding alleged violations of dimensional lumber descriptions.
In a letter to members from WCLBMA executive director Ken Dunham offered advice on how to avoid run-ins with the state agencies when it comes to labeling and advertising products.
“For lumber dealers, it appears the first action is to make certain that any dimensional lumber received by your business from suppliers has the quantity of items in the shipment, and that the supplier has also listed the material’s nominal and actual sizes on that invoice. This information is generally the first information requested by CA Division of Measurement Standards in the event of an investigation.”
“If the product is a non-standard item, it must be clearly labeled with the actual size information and may not be referred to in the common nominal terms for lumber identified in PS 20-10.”
PS 20-10 refers to the National Institute of Standards & Technology/American Softwood Lumber Standard “Voluntary Product Standard PS 20-10.”
For the full WCLBMA letter,click here.
Dunham adds: “It remains unclear if requiring actual andnominal sizes being posted at the product display location, in advertising materials or on other documents, is necessary, as was required in the Lowe’s judgment. The WCLBMA has requested additional clarification on this matter.”
The association is continuing to seek further clarification, he said.
A deputy district attorney involved in the case said that companies are within their rights to describe softwood dimensional lumber in nominal terms, as opposed to actual terms. But when it comes to composite materials, the actual must be used.
Regarding Lowe’s case, Dunham's note explains: “While not all of the details of the allegations are known, it would appear that the complaint against Lowe’s involved certain products that are not generally regarded as 'wood' being labeled as such, and it also appears that certain other lumber products sold may not have been correctly labeled. It is not solely a matter of product labeling that was incorrect. This is a long-standing complaint that was just recently resolved."