Scope and content of assurances of compliance.
A question frequently asked is whether a single written assurance of compliance will suffice for purposes both of section 12(a), relating to child labor, and section 15(a)(1), relating to wage and hour standards. A single assurance would appear to be sufficient, provided it is specific enough to meet all the conditions of the two sections. Although it is possible that the courts might find assurances referring generally to compliance “with the requirements of the Act” adequate for all purposes, the safer course to pursue would be to phrase the assurance in terms of compliance with the specific sections of the Act whose violation would bar the goods from interstate or foreign commerce.
The language of the statute gives support to this view. It will be noted that the written assurance referred to in section 15(a)(1) is described as one of “compliance with the requirements of the Act * * *,” whereas the written assurance referred to in section 12(a) is described as one of “compliance with this section.” In view of the differences in wording of the two sections, a court might conclude that a general assurance of compliance with the Act is not sufficient to include a specific assurance of compliance with section 12, on the theory that if Congress had intended an assurance of compliance with the Act to be sufficient under the child-labor provisions, there would have been no reason for the use of the more specific language which it placed in section 12. Also, it is possible that a court might conclude that Congress intended, under section 15(a)(1), that the assurance should refer specifically to the particular sections of the Act mentioned therein, since unless there is some violation of one of those sections in the production of goods, a subsequent purchaser is not prohibited from putting them in commerce.
There is no prescribed form or language that must be followed in order for the written assurance of compliance to afford the desired protection. However, in view of the considerations mentioned above, the following is suggested as a guide for the type of language which would appear to provide the maximum degree of certainty that a purchaser who acquired the goods in good faith in reliance on the written assurance would receive the protection intended by the amendments:
The question has also arisen as to what method should be used to give a purchaser a proper written assurance which would adequately identify the particular goods to which such assurance relates. Although other means of giving proper written assurances may be found to be more practical and convenient, it appears that one simple and feasible method of giving such assurance is for the producer to stamp or print the assurance on the invoice which covers the particular goods and which is given to the purchaser as a part of the transaction whereby the goods are acquired.