Neiman Marcus Inc., drjays.com and Revolve Clothing have settled charges from the Federal Trade Commission that they falsely mislabeled garments containing real fur as “faux fur.”
This story first appeared in the March 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The three companies were cited for violations of the Fur Products Labeling Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Humane Society of the U.S. filed a grievance about the three retailers and eight other firms in November 2011, although an FTC spokesman couldn’t confirm a connection between that petition and the settlement.
Under proposed consent orders that apply for 20 years, the companies are barred from violating the Fur Act but will not be held liable if they don’t embellish or misrepresent claims provided by the items’ manufacturers, don’t sell them as private label product and weren’t aware or couldn’t have been aware that the products were marketed in violation of the act. The settlement doesn’t require any payments by the three retailers.
The alleged violations by Neiman Marcus involved three items — a coat from Burberry, a flat shoe from Stuart Weitzman and a coat by Alice + Olivia — carried on its Web site. The fur content of shoes sold in its catalogue, in ad materials sent to consumers and on its bergdorfgoodman.com Web site was also misrepresented, according to the complaint.
The complaint about drjays.com involved misrepresentation of fur content and failure to disclose content on the exterior and lining of jackets and vests. Eminent Inc., which does business as Revolve Clothing, allegedly either failed to disclose the animal name for the fur on four items or misrepresented the composition of the fur.
Confirming the agreement, Neiman Marcus said it “is dedicated to providing complete and accurate information to our customers. To this end, we maintain a robust program to comply with all laws and regulations intended to protect consumers, which is as good or better than any program in the industry.” In addition to its commitment to “identify correctly and promote accurately” fur and faux fur products, the retailer said it will continue to work with vendors and the FTC to provide “transparent and accurate product information that our customers expect and desire.”
Calls seeking comment from drjays.com and Revolve weren’t returned.
The agreements will be available for public viewing, the FTC said, and public comment will be possible until April 18, after which the FTC will decide whether to make the settlements final.