Submission Number: 00002
Received: 3/19/2013 5:21:34 PM
Commenter: Curt Kammeraaad
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., a corporation, File No. 082 3199
Attachments: No Attachments
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 in this latest installment of managerial contempt for federal law.
That corporate managers and officers are contemptous of inter alia Section 5 is beyond reasonable dispute. As long as the company can sufficiently profit, liquidate fur products that would otherwise cause losses if marketed accurately and completely. That Neiman-Marcus BOTH knew the law (notwithstanding presumptions of such everywhere and seemingly FOR everyone else) and acted wilfully and purposefully against it is beyond any reasonable dispute. The prior incident put them on notice and they promised at that time to essentially do what they now are asked to agree to do again for merely 20 years. That this approach failed to either punish and deter Neiman-Marcus is likewise beyond any reasonable dispute. If reaching a consent decree would have been enough, one would reason that following the first incident there would be nothing more heard from or about Neiman-Marcus lying and cheating about its real animal fur products.
To geninely and sincerely punish and deter this conduct, not just Neiman-Marcus but all other similarly situated retail and other firms, it is necessary to impose far more punative measures than this effective "turn the other cheak" policy that seemigly persists when Neiman-Marcus wants to sell a boatload of its fur products but cannot seemingly do so in the face of consumer boycotts and other information that informs consumers about the genuine fur industries and their conduct towards world wildlife.To "obey the law" is something corporate officers at Neiman-Marcus have a pre-existing legal duty to comply with. This, said in short ot another way, means that there is no sanction at all--not for the first incident and not NOW for the latest incident of rank misrepresentations to consumers.
Profits should be disgorged. Consumers actually hurt by buying what they thought was fake fur and want refunds etc should be compelled and Naiman-Marcus should be required to both market the return policy opening but allow both staff and space in their facilities in order to effectuate it. Lastly, in addition to any ongoing requirements to do what they must always do--obey the law--corporate officers and managers involved with this latest incident should be dealt with separately and appropriate sanctions to ensure that this cabal of managers "get it" should be both foreseeable and intended by the proposed sanction(s).
In conclusion, the purported sanctions against Neiman-Marcus for rank violations of consumer protection legislation amount to no sanctions at all. What will the FTC do when this cabal of contempt against federal law decides to agaiin profit from lawlessness? Can the FTC put a genuine measurement on the false market signals this leads to fur providing firms as to what animals to slaughter and for whom worldwide? It seems as if there is a demand that does not in truth exist because purposeful misrepresentation has interposed itself to make animal slaughter more profitable than what it truly is.
But for the real injury, not just to the biosphere but to concumers and to the reputation of the FTC and others, this purported sanction against Neiman-Marcus would be laughable. It is not however either funny or sensible to insist that this company do what it is and has always been expected to do and now at least on two occasions has knowingly refused and built a marketing plan based upon fraud and deceit.
I respectfully DISSENT.