Back in the day people worried that their real fur might be fake. But it seems that now you also have to worry that your fake fur is actually real. The FTC recently approved final settlement orders with Neiman Marcus, DrJays.com and Eminent Inc., after the retailers allegedly sold real fur products that they advertised as fake fur. The FTC charged the actors in the faux faux fur scandal with violating the Fur Act and the Fur Rules for the mislabeled goods.
Neiman’s, for example, allegedly described a $1,295 Burberry jacket as having a “black faux-fur hood with snap-tab detail” yet the label on the coat noted that the fur was real. A little Stuart Weitzman Ballet Flat ($325) was said to have a “faux fur pom-pom” in one ad and a “dyed mink pouf” in another, but the shoe itself actually used rabbit fur. According to the FTC, Eminent also advertised a Marc Jacobs Runway Roebling Coat as having a “faux fur trimmed hood” when the coat label said the trim was “real coyote.” The settlement bars the companies from making any misrepresentations of fur products for the next 20 years.
Echoing the FTC’s recent Enforcement Policy Statement for the Fur Act, the settlements also note that the retailers won’t be held liable for misrepresentations about their fur products when they cannot legally get guarantees from the manufacturer and if: 1) the retailers don’t embellish or misrepresent what the manufacturer said about the product; 2) they don’t sell the product under a private label; and 3) they neither knew nor should have known that the item was marketed in a way that violated the Fur Act.
So retailers of all fur products should take note of this settlement: do not embellish or misrepresent claims that your product’s fur is real or fake, coyote or mink, rabbit or rat. If you misrepresent fur in your ads, the legal situation can get hairy.