Retailers Agree to Settle FTC Charges They Marketed Real Fur Products as Fake Fur

March 19, 2013
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Three clothing retailers have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they misled consumers by marketing that products contained “faux fur,” when in fact, the products contained real fur.

In administrative complaints, the FTC alleged that The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., DrJays.com Inc., and Eminent Inc., doing business as Revolve Clothing violated the FTC Act and the Fur Products Labeling Act (Fur Act) by falsely claiming that some products had “faux” fur, and by not naming the animal that produced the fur.  Neiman Marcus also allegedly misrepresented that a rabbit fur product had mink fur, and failed to disclose the fur country of origin for three fur products.  The FTC published for public comment orders prohibiting the retailers, for 20 years, from violating the Fur Act and the Rules and Regulations Under the Fur Act.

According to the FTC, Neiman Marcus’s website misrepresented the fur content and failed to disclose the animal name and fur country of origin for three products:  a Burberry Outerwear Jacket, a Stuart Weitzman Ballerina Flat shoe, and an Alice + Olivia Kyah Coat.  Neiman Marcus also misrepresented the fur content of the shoe in its catalog, at bergdorfgoodman.com, and in ads mailed to consumers.

DrJays.com allegedly misrepresented the fur content and failed to disclose the animal name for three products:  a Snorkel Jacket by Crown Holder with a fur-lined hood, a Fur/Leather Vest by Knoles & Carter with exterior fur, and a New York Subway Leather Bomber Jacket by United Face with fur lining.

Eminent Inc., doing business as Revolve Clothing, allegedly misrepresented the fur content and failed to disclose the animal name for four products:  an Australia Luxe Collective Nordic Angel Short Boot with a fur-trimmed hood, a Mark Jacobs Runway Roebling Coat, a Dakota Xan Fur Poncho, and an Eryn Brinie Belted Faux Fur Vest.

Under proposed consent orders that apply for 20 years, the respondents are barred from violating the Fur Act and the Fur Rules.  Consistent with the Commission’s Enforcement Policy Statement announced in January, the orders provide that the respondents will not be liable for misrepresentations about fur products that they directly import if they do not embellish or misrepresent claims provided by the products’ manufacturers, they do not sell the product as a private label product, and they neither know nor should have known that the product is marketed in a manner that violates the Fur Act.

The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement packages containing the proposed consent orders for public comment was 4-0.  The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement packages in the Federal Register shortly.  The agreements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through April 18, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent orders final.  Interested parties can submit comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Invitation To Comment” part of the “Supplementary Information” section.

Comments in electronic form can be submitted using the following links:

Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to:  Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.  The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law.  A consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated.  When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions.  Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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