Neiman Marcus Sells Real Fur as Fake, Complaint to FTC Says

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Exteriors Of A Neiman Marcus Store As Company Files Files An IPO
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Looking for a woman's boot with a faux fur trim? Neiman Marcus had a model called the Taryn Rose, at least in March, for $213, according to a screen grab provided by the Humane Society of the U.S. Just one problem: The faux fur was anything but. The boot came with a label that indicated the trim as "dyed and treated real fur from rabbit," according to an image sent to DailyFinance from the society.

The purchase was the latest in a series of market checks that the organization conducts. Earlier this year, Amazon was caught treating real fur as fake, as DailyFinance reported. Now the online operations of upscale retailer Neiman Marcus have come under the spotlight. The organization this week filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming the company has violated a consent order it earlier entered into with the FTC over previous incorrect labeling of real fur as faux.

The HSUS has amassed evidence that Neiman Marcus has recently sold fur garments that are falsely and misleadingly advertised and labeled as faux fur when, in fact, the garments include real animal fur. This evidence indicates that Neiman Marcus engaged in these practices after the date of entry of the [previous] Consent Order, which "permanently restrained and enjoined" Neiman Marcus from ... "falsely or deceptively advertising any fur product by misrepresenting...[t]hat the fur in any fur product is faux or fake."

DailyFinance requested an interview with Neiman Marcus but did not receive a response before publication.

HSUS had delayed in publicizing Amazon's issue to give the retailer "ample opportunity to rectify the problem and demonstration how they intended to prevent such misrepresentation in the future." There was no such delay in this case between allegedly detecting the problem and going to the FTC.

Long History Between Society and Neiman Marcus

"Neiman Marcus is such a notoriously bad actor when it comes to selling real fur as faux that as this point we go straight to the Federal Trade Commission," Pierre Grzybowski, research and enforcement manager of the society's fur-free campaign, told DailyFinance. According to Grzybowski, the society's interactions with Neiman Marcus go back to at least 2007 and cover a series of incidents in which the retailer supposedly represented real fur as fake.

In 2013, the FTC ordered that retailers Neiman Marcus, DrJays.com and Eminent were "prohibited, for 20 years, from violating the Fur Act and the Fur Rules, including misrepresenting that real fur is fake or faux." Neiman Marcus neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

Grzybowski said that one reason manufacturers substitute real fur for fake is cost. "Animal fur trim especially, can easily cost less to the manufacturer than high-quality faux fur," he said. "It's impossible for us to say in any given instance why real fur is being misrepresented as faux fur, but generally speaking it's likely a combination of some intentional misrepresentation, especially at the manufacturing level, and a great deal of sloppy or non-existent quality control at the retail level."

There are multiple problems with selling real fur as faux. One is that many people under principle object to purchasing products with fur. Another is the potential for an allergic reaction.
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