LOS ANGELES — Kitson is the latest target of the Humane Society of the U.S.’ investigations into real fur falsely advertised as fake fur.
The animal-protection organization identified three items sold online by the Los Angeles-based retailer described as “faux fur” that laboratory analyses found contained fur from various animals, including possibly a coyote, gray wolf and raccoon dog. The discovery comes after the Humane Society filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission in November against 11 retailers for falsely advertising and mislabeling real fur items as fake fur.
Pierre Grzybowski, research and enforcement manager for the Humane Society’s Fur-Free Campaign, received a tip from a blogger that Kitson was carrying a purse online it advertised as faux fur that could be made from real fur. He purchased the purse, which is by the brand Street Level, as well as jackets by the brands Canada Goose and Monnalisa from Kitson’s Web site in January. Two out of the three items were still available online early Wednesday, but were off of the retailer’s Web site by the afternoon.
In a statement, Kitson was adamant it didn’t willfully attempt to deceive its customers and regretted “incorrectly listing the fur content on its items. Kitson prides itself on its strong vendor partnerships and will continue to work with them to sell with integrity both online and in stores. Kitson thanks the Humane Society for its efforts and for bringing this issue to its attention,” said the retailer.
Grzybowski said, “What is most surprising is that this particular retailer sold three items,” adding he thought it was “one of the highest numbers of items sold by one retailer as faux fur that were actually real in one season, and I have been doing this since 2006.”
According to the Humane Society, the federal Fur Products Labeling Act requires that animal-fur products be labeled with the name of the species used, manufacturer and country of origin, and it prohibits the sale and advertising of fur products that have been falsely or deceptively advertised. Violations of the act can carry up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
To address the matter, Kitson said it would “work diligently and vigilantly to ensure content is correctly listed in the future, conducting additional research when information is omitted on products.”