Earlier today, the Humane Society accused Kohl’s of once again selling a product that supposedly used faux fur but actually contained the real deal. In a statement, the retailer apologizes to customers for the mix-up and says it has pulled the item in question from its website.
According to the statement (see below for full text), Kohl’s says that it did not know the parka in question — which was only available on Kohls.com — contained real fur, as the vendor who supplied it to Kohl’s did not inform the store or get the proper authorization.
“Once aware that the product was made with real fur, Kohl’s immediately removed the product from our website,” says the company. And indeed, this particular parka is no longer listed on the Kohl’s site.
According to Kohl’s, fewer than 100 of these parkas were purchased before being pulled. Those who did purchase the parka and don’t want the real fur lining are will be able to return them to Kohl’s.
“We apologize to our customers who would not have otherwise purchased these parkas,” reads the statement.
This is the second time in a year that Kohl’s has been accused of selling a product that used cheap fur from real animals — in this case, raccoon dogs — rather than fake fur. Last December, the Humane Society found handbags lined with rabbit fur that was listed as faux.
Regardless of the ethical debate surrounding the use of animal fur, it’s against the law to knowingly label a product as faux fur but use actual fur, and vice versa. Additionally, the Fur Products Labeling Act requires the seller to name the type of animal used for the fur and its country of origin. If you don’t disclose that real fur is used, then you’re also failing to disclose this information.
The question, in terms of liability, is exactly how much control a retailer has over the products supplied by outside vendors. Kohl’s claims in its statement that it never had the actual coats in its inventory and that orders will fulfilled by the vendor, implying that it had to take the vendor at its word that the parkas used fake fur.
Here is the full statement from Kohl’s:
Kohl’s standard vendor terms require that all merchandise must be free of any real animal fur unless expressly authorized in writing by Kohl’s. No such authorization was given here. Once aware that the product was made with real fur, Kohl’s immediately removed the product from our website.
The parkas in question were sold online only and were not exclusive to Kohl’s. Kohl’s has never held these items in our inventories, as they are directly shipped from the vendor to customers. Fewer than 100 of these parkas have been purchased through Kohl’s.
We apologize to our customers who would not have otherwise purchased these parkas. Kohl’s will honor returns, no questions asked, for any customers who no longer wish to keep them.
by Chris Morran via Consumerist