WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the U.S. petitioned the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for alleged false advertising and mislabeling of fur.

This story first appeared in the August 20, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The petition alleged that Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman advertised and sold Manolo Blahnik boots that were either mislabeled or were made with fur from an endangered species. Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are divisions of Neiman Marcus Group.

According to the Humane Society petition, Neiman’s and Bergdorf’s sold boots in stores and online that were advertised as being made from “cava fur” and from “natural ocelot fur.” The complaint alleged it is illegal to sell ocelot fur and there is no such thing as cava fur.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the ocelot as an endangered species, which means it is protected by legislation that, among other things, makes it illegal to sell its fur.

A spokeswoman for Neiman Marcus said she could not comment.

The Humane Society filed similar petitions in 2007 with the FTC against Neiman’s and other stores and vendors for allegedly selling items labeled as faux fur, raccoon or rabbit, which it claimed were actually made of fur from domestic dogs, raccoon dogs and wolves. The FTC investigated the allegations, but found in May that no action was warranted. Neiman’s did offer customers a refund at the time.

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