The UK advertising watchdog has issued an enforcement notice on misleading faux fur product claims.
The notice was issued following the case of a faux fur pom pom jumper sold by online retailer Boohoo and a faux fur pom pom headband sold by Zacharia Jewellers on Amazon. Zacharia said the products were sourced from China and the listing had been removed.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said UK retailers must ensure their product descriptions are not misleading on faux fur claims by 11 February 2019, with its compliance team taking “targeted enforcement action from this date to ensure a level playing field”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we don’t think retailers and sellers are deliberately misleading consumers,” said the ASA. “We understand problems usually arise from supply chain pollution or lack of education and enforcement. Nonetheless, the buck stops with the advertiser, so it important steps are taken to ensure retailers and sellers abide by the rules.”
The notice contains the following advice: “Don’t assume that the low cost of the product from a supplier is a good indicator that the product does not contain animal fur. Current market conditions mean that real animal fur is not necessarily more expensive than faux fur.”
It adds: “Don’t use suppliers that make repeated ‘mistakes’ in supplying animal fur instead of faux fur.”
Phil Bulman, retail sector specialist at management consultancy Vendigital, said: “With a number of retailers facing backlash for recent supply chain scandals, this new pressure from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority comes as little surprise.
“To avoid damaging their brand and facing possible sanctions, retailers must ensure that ethics are high on their agenda when making purchasing decisions and consider public perception in all their commercial activities.
“Ensuring visibility at every level of the supply chain is vital and time and resource should be invested in learning about suppliers, the products and the practices they are using first-hand.
“While taking such as proactive approach will inevitably involve some initial cost outlay, this should be weighed against the reputational damage of becoming the next supply chain headline, which could well mean the end of their brand.”
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