Fur Fake Out - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Fur Fake Out

The look of fur is all the rage, but some fashionistas want to make sure what they wear is fake. Now Hank’s investigation reveals you could be lured into a faux fur, faux pas-- by labels that trap you into buying the real thing. Hank Investigates.

Come shopping with us-we're on the hunt for fur. Many people who like the furry fashion look - feel better about buying the fake stuff. But our hidden camera investigation found when you think you're getting fake - you could be getting fooled and buying the real thing!

"There is still animal fur being sold in the United States without saying anything on the label,” said Pierre Grzybowski, Humane Society of the United States.

Under Federal law, every item that's made of fur - in any part, even a tiny bit - needs a label listing the animal it came from.

But look: At this Steinmart in Westborough, we found this fancy sweater--decorated with furry black puffs. According to the label--it's only rayon, nylon and spandex. But our expert says this stuff is real fur.

“How many animals are dying for jackets that people buy thinking its fake? Who knows how many animals that is?" said Grzybowski.

There's nothing illegal about selling or wearing fur. Some people like the real thing.

So what would you say about these fluffy-trimmed gloves we found at the Rainbow Store in Revere? The label says 100-percent polyester. But see the dark stuff? Our expert says it’s from the ballpoint pens they use to mark the animal skins.

Hank: This is real fur?

Pierre Grzybowski: Yes.

Hank: This is not polyester.

Pierre Grzybowski: No.

You can't tell the difference by color--dyed fur is common. Of these three samples--the only real fur is the orange one. And you can't tell by price--sometimes real fur is less expensive.

But look: man-made fur is kind of like carpeting--its fibers woven into a mesh backing. See? This is fake--you can see the weave. But this fur is attached to skin--there's no mesh.

So here's the puff on a hat we bought at the Rainbow Store. The label says polyester. But there's no mesh. It's fur.

You can't rely on salespeople-they may have no idea. We asked in every store and clerks assured us the items were fake. In Wellesley at KGirl  we found this jacket. But its fuzzy collar is real fur--though the label doesn’t say so.

Hank: We asked the clerk is this real or fake-she said its fake!

Pierre Grzybowski: Yeah.

Hank:What do you say?

Pierre Grzybowski: No, its real.

We called every one of the stores where we bought these mislabeled items--every one of them blamed the manufacturers, and every one of them took action. KGirl in Wellesley pulled the coats off their racks. Steinmart headquarters yanked the sweaters from their stores nationwide. And Rainbow stores issued a national recall to all its outlets, requiring the gloves and hats be sent back to corporate headquarters.

When the individual makers of these items get caught lying on their labels, the feds can crack down-imposing big fines and even jail for those who ignore the rules. If you'd like more information on how to spot real fur, check out this guide from the Humane Society of the United States.

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