(WHTM) – When shopping for a new mattress for your bedroom, it can be intimidating since there are so many options. But there is one thing that is fairly consistent on every mattress in the U.S. – the tag on your mattress says it is illegal and punishable by law to remove it.

But is it really illegal to remove the tag? The answer is both yes and no.

If you are the consumer, or the buyer of the mattress, you can remove the tag after you purchase it with no consequence. But it is illegal for the mattress manufacturer to do it.

According to Shovlin Mattress, the purpose of the mattress tag is to let the consumer know exactly what is inside the mattress, what the mattress consists of as a whole and when it was manufactured. It also reassures the consumer that the mattress is brand new and has never been sold previously.

Shovlin Mattress says that before the 20th century, mattresses were made up of many materials of all different qualities. A manufacturer could claim the inside of a mattress was made of cotton, but it could be made with straw or paper or even recycled materials that may have contained bacteria or bed bugs.

To combat this, the government began to require tags that listed the contents of a mattress. But the manufacturers would rip off the tags before the mattresses went to stores. This way, the companies could technically say the tags were on the mattresses and that the consumer just did not see them.

Once the government caught on to this, the tags were changed to say it was punishable by law to remove them. In the 1990s, the wording was rewritten to say, “Do Not Remove by Penalty of Law Except by the Consumer.”

If manufacturers are found removing the tags, they can be held liable for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and may face additional penalties.

And though it’s not illegal for customers to remove the tags, they risk voiding the warranty on their mattresses if they choose to do so.