For the second time in less than a month, a top Federal Trade Commission official who joined the commission under the Reagan administration has urged the agency to abandon its efforts to require businesses to disclose more information to consumers.
Timothy J. Muris, the head of the agency's bureau of consumer protection, called on the commission to drop its proposal to require labels on draperies, carpets and upholstered furniture that would tell consumers how to clean and care for these products.
Muris, who was appointed to the consumer protection post by FTC Chairman James C. Miller III, a Reagan appointee, argued that there is insufficient evidence to justify this proposal.
Although Muris concluded that the FTC's 11-year-old rule requiring similar care labels in clothes was beneficial to consumers, he argued in a lengthy memorandum that its success does not necessarily justify its extension to other products.
Given the success of its care-labelling rules for clothes, the commission has been considering extending the requirement to upholstered furniture and slipcovers, carpets and rugs, drapes, household linens, yarn and leather and suede apparel. A vote on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday.
However, Muris argued that "the rulemaking record does not establish that systematic injury to consumers or others occurs from the failure of manufacturers of these products to provide care data."
This is the second proposed rule Muris has urged the commission to abandon. He recently argued that the commission also should drop its plans for rules that would require food manufacturers to disclose more information in their advertisements about their products' caloric, fat and natural-food content.
In both cases, Muris argues that the FTC should issue rules only after extensive scientific surveys indicate the rule is needed and prove that the proposed remedy would be cost-effective.