Neiman Marcus settles with U.S. FTC for selling real fur as fake

WASHINGTON, March 19 Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:39pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Group Inc settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday for advertising some clothing as having fake fur when it was in fact real, potentially upsetting fur-averse buyers.

The Neiman Marcus website advertised three products - a Burberry jacket, a Stuart Weitzman shoe and an Alice + Olivia coat - as having fake fur when they did not, the FTC said in a complaint that accompanied the settlement.

The jackets and coats themselves carried labels saying "real fur," the complaint said. That could have been a nasty surprise to buyers who chose the garments specifically to avoid purchasing fur.

Similarly, the shoes were advertised in catalogs and elsewhere as being made of "dyed mink" and "rabbit fur," contradicting the website, the complaint said.

Neiman Marcus also allegedly misrepresented that a rabbit fur product had mink fur.

This is the second go-round with the FTC for Neiman Marcus, which the FTC investigated in 2009 for selling coats labeled "faux fur" when the fur was real. That investigation was closed after Neiman Marcus said it reached an agreement with a vendor to specifically label products as having either real or fake fur, the complaint said.

Neiman Marcus agreed to a 20-year consent order that bars it from violating a law that requires it to advertise accurately the kind of fur used in its products.

Two other companies, DrJays.com and Eminent Inc, made similar settlements.

DrJays founder and Chief Executive Officer Hymie Betesh said in an email the company buys about 50,000 different types of clothing each year and errors occurred in a handful of cases.

"There was no intention to mislead, and we extend apologies to those that feel misled," he said in the email. "We have since taken stricter measures company-wide."

The other companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

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