November 22, 2011
The HSUS Files False Advertising Complaint over Fur Garments
Eleven retailers face potential civil and criminal penalties for real fur sold as faux
The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the FederalTrade Commission against 11 nationally and internationally known retailers for the false advertising and mislabeling of fur trimmed products.
The retailers advertised various items as being made with “faux” fur, even though the products contain real animal fur.
“There is an epidemic of false advertising in the fur industry,” said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The HSUS. “Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying, but many major retailers just don’t seem to care if consumers are deceived, even though real fur is something many consumers are determined to avoid.”
The petition names Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Beyond the Rack, ShopBop, Dr. Jays, Revolve Clothing, Gilt Groupe, Ssense, Summit Sports, and Yoox, each of which falsely advertised jackets, cardigans, shoes or other products as containing “faux” fur. Independent laboratory testing confirmed that the products contain real animal fur.
The products involved include popular brands such as Marc by Marc Jacobs, Elizabeth and James by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mark + James by Badgley Mischka, Crown Holder, Mackage, and Woolrich.
The HSUS previously filed two similar actions with the FTC—one in March 2007 and the other in April 2008—against more than 20 companies, including five companies that are also named in the latest petition.
The petition alleges that the practices of these retailers mislead consumers into unknowingly purchasing animal fur products, increase consumer confusion over the type and origin of fur that is used on clothing and accessories, and violate the federal Fur Products Labeling Act.
The facts on fur labeling
- Congress enacted the Fur Products Labeling Act in 1951 in response to rampant false advertising and false labeling of animal fur garments.
- The Fur Products Labeling Act requires that animal fur products be labeled with the name of the species used, the manufacturer, country of origin, and other information and prohibits the sale and advertising of fur products that have been falsely or deceptively advertised.
- Violations of the Fur Products Labeling Act carry up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
- The Federal Trade Commission is tasked with enforcing the Fur Products Labeling Act and protecting consumers from deception.
- Last year Congress passed and President Obama signed the Truth in Fur Labeling Act to strengthen the Fur Products Labeling Act and close a loophole that previously allowed some fur trimmed garments to be sold without labels. The new law will help prevent false advertising by requiring retailers to affix clear labels to the garments themselves.
Media contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, firstname.lastname@example.org.