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HSUS to FTC: take action against 17 retailers that sold animal fur as “faux fur”

Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Kohl’s, Nordstrom among those facing potential civil or criminal penalties

The Humane Society of the United States asks the Federal Trade Commission to bring enforcement action under federal consumer protection laws against 17 retailers for false advertising of fur garments. The retailers sold a combined 37 different styles of apparel and accessories that were advertised or labeled as “faux fur,” but actually included animal fur from raccoon dogs, rabbits and coyotes. 

In its largest collection of industry misrepresentations to date, The HSUS highlights violations from December 2011 through December 2015 by retailers Amazon, A-List/Kitson, Barneys, Belk, Bluefly, Century 21 Department Stores, Eminent/Revolve, Gilt, Kohl’s, La Garconne, Mia Belle Baby, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ross, Ruelala, Searle and Stein Mart.

“Consumers would be horrified to know they have been duped into purchasing animal fur when they thought they were buying a humane alternative,” said Pierre Grzybowski, Research and Enforcement manager of The HSUS’s Fur-Free Campaign. “The FTC must crack down on this industry-wide problem of misrepresentation that The HSUS has been uncovering and documenting year-after-year for a decade.”

The sale of these coats, footwear, key chains, handbags and cardigans as “faux fur,” when in fact they include animal fur, is a violation of the Fur Products Labeling Act, The Federal Trade Commission Act, and in some cases a violation of outstanding cease-and-desist orders already issued by the agency. Violations can carry penalties of up to one year in prison and/or fines of up to $40,000.

MICHAEL Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Burberry Brit, Canada Goose, Rebecca Minkoff, Elie Tahari and Rag & Bone are among the 32 different brands of apparel and accessories sold by the retailers named in the petition.

The submission represents the latest in a series of HSUS investigations and actions regarding rampant false advertising and labeling in the animal fur apparel industry. The HSUS previously sought FTC action on the problem in March 2007, April 2008, November 2011, July 2014 and April 2015. But lack of vigorous industry-wide enforcement has allowed widespread violations to go unchecked.

Neiman Marcus and Eminent/Revolve are already under 20-year cease-and-desist orders from the FTC following an HSUS petition that identified similar violations in 2011. 

More details can be found in the links below:

Media Contact: Samantha Miller: 301-258-1466; smiller@humanesociety.org   

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