That Faux Fur Was Real Fur: 3 Retailers Busted Over Mislabeling

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Neiman Marcus faux fur is real
Federal Trade CommissionA Revolve Clothing ad on the Web for a Marc Jacobs coat, which falsely said its hood was made of faux fur.
Businesses get in trouble all the time for trying to pass off counterfeit items as the real thing. But in a strange reversal, a few retailers have been busted for selling real fur, but claiming that it was fake.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that three companies -- Neiman Marcus, DrJays.com and Revolve Clothing -- had agreed to settle charges that they misrepresented real fur products as faux fur. Several products were involved in the fur scandal, including Burberry jackets, Eryn Brinie vests, and some boots and shoes.

By misrepresenting real fur as faux fur, the companies were in violation of the Fur Act. And while it might seem unusual to bust a company for passing off an authentic product as a phoney one, it's not hard to understand why some people might be upset by the deception: Many shoppers deliberately steer clear of real fur out of concern for animal rights, and we imagine a few customers might be horrified to learn that they'd purchased a genuine rabbit pelt.

"By not disclosing the products contained real fur, that means the companies also didn't honor their obligation under the law to truthfully tell people the kind of fur and its country of origin," wrote FTC attorney Lesley Fair in a blog post about the settlement.
In a few cases, the companies involved in the settlement simply failed to indicate the animal name or country of origin for the product. Neiman Marcus, for instance, said that a rabbit fur boot was actually made with mink fur, which is bad news for any rabbit lovers who bought the boots thinking they were only abetting the slaughter of minks.

The retailers won't be fined for their misrepresentations. But stiffer penalties could be in the offing if any of the three knowingly violate the Fur Act again in the next 20 years.

Interestingly, this is the second time this year that a company got in trouble for selling a fake-ish product that turned out to be a bit too authentic. Back in January, a New Jersey-based dietary supplement company that sold "all-natural herbal extract" pills promising "enhanced erections" and other sexual benefits was forced to issue a recall after it was discovered that they contained actual erectile-dysfunction drugs.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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