Site Allegedly Sells Real Fur as 'Faux'

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faux fur sold as real fur on partner site
Love animals and yet want the look of fur? Better be careful, as the Humane Society of the United States keeps finding companies that claim to sell faux fur but ship the real thing. In December, Kohl's (KSS) was found selling real fur instead of fake for the second time, according to AOL Jobs.

The latest in the organization's continuing series of sting operations is MyHabit, a website owned by (AMZN) that offers "up to 60 percent off fashion, home & more," According to the HSUS report, MyHabit sold two products that claimed to use faux fur but included animal skins.

One was a pair of sarajane brand gloves that HSUS claims was purchased on Jan. 9, 2014. The screen capture from MyHabit shows the following description: "Sophisticated style accented with a button of faux fur; measures 9" from fingertip to cuff." The country of origin was China and the materials were supposedly 80 percent wool and 20 percent acrylic.

The same mixture was listed on the garment label, but testing showed that the button was actually an animal of the mustelidae family, a family of mammals that include badgers, weasels, ferrets, minks and wolverines. According to HSUS, the lab it used said the fur was possibly American mink.

The second item, purchased on Jan. 10, 2014, was a Walter Baker brand "Outerwear Maya Mixed Media Parka." Here's the description: "Zip-up coat with concealing snap plackets, removable hood with faux fur trim, faux leather and faux shearling detail, snap flap pockets." The country of origin was China. Fabric mix was supposed to be 100 percent polyester with a lining of 97 percent polyester and 3 percent Spandex. However, the garment label showed a mix of faux fur and rabbit fur.

Neither the report nor the press release explained why the Humane Society had purchased the items and presumably found them to use real fur back in early 2014 and yet said nothing until a year later. DailyFinance has sent a request for more information to the organization but heard nothing before publication.

Update: The Humane Society responded to DailyFinance's question, saying that it "wanted to give the Amazon-owned retailer ample opportunity to rectify the problem and demonstration how they intended to prevent such misrepresentation in the future." The organization said that "months of discussions" went by before it decided to make the issue public.

In addition, DailyFinance has asked about the allegations, which replied, "We take providing our customers with accurate product information very seriously." The company said that the two items are no longer listed as being on sale at MyHabit, but it didn't explain whether the items came off in the normal course of business or as a response to the criticism. Nor did Amazon say how such items came to be advertised as strictly faux fur products.

According to the Humane Society, there are several ways to tell the difference between faux and real fur:
  • Push apart the fur and look at the material at the base of the hairs. If faux, the hairs will emerge from a visible threadwork backing. If the base looks like leather or skin, usually white or tan, then it's real fur. Warning, seeing the base might require breaking the stitching, in which case be sure you own the garment.
  • If animal fur hasn't been sheared or plucked, looking with a magnifying glass will often show that the hairs taper. This test, however, can result in false negatives as shearing or plucking might make the hairs look squarely cut. Also, there may come a manufacturing process that could make the faux hairs taper the way real ones can.
  • If you own the coat and really want to know whether it's faux or real, remove a few hairs, hold them with tweezers above a non-flammable dish or surface, and set fire to them. If real, they will smell like burning human hair.
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