Boohoo has been given a warning from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after the retailer was caught advertising a fake fur product that contained real fur.
The judgement of the ASA said that the firm breached the advertising code rules 3.1 for misleading advertising, and rule 3.7 for substantiation regarding its “faux fur pom pom jumper”, which was withdrawn from sale following a complaint from Humane Society International (HSI).
HSI reported the product to the ASA after it purchased a sample of the product and commissioned a test from an independent textiles analysis expert. The tests confirmed the product contained real fur.
The product was advertised by Boohoo in September, but the etailer is understood to have believed the product did not contain real fur. The ASA reported that the items were obtained from an external UK-based supplier, “who were aware of Boohoo’s commitment against the sale of real fur and had signed a supplier acknowledgement form committing to not supplying products containing real fur. Furthermore, a proportion of all stock that contained faux fur was inspected by Boohoo’s quality control team.”
In its judgement, the ASA said: “The report stated that the sample had been identified microscopically by detailed examination and comparison with authentic reference samples, and included detailed notes on the shape and texture of the fibres. The results reported that the “faux fur” from the sample was real animal fur, most likely rabbit.
“We acknowledged that Boohoo had removed the product from sale following receipt of the complaint. We also acknowledged that they had quality control procedures in place to identify real animal fur, though we understood they did not retain detailed reports on the tested stock other than to say that it had passed those tests.”
The latest warning comes weeks after ASA ruled that the Boohoo had breached advertising rules with misleading customer offers.
In a statement, Boohoo said: “We have a strong commitment against the sale of real fur in any of our products. We have robust policies and procedures in place to ensure that we are able to adhere to this commitment.
“Boohoo has a team of in-house quality assurance experts who are responsible for testing and checking of products to ensure instances such as this don’t occur. The product in question was checked for real fur using our own ‘approved’ tests and procedures by our in-house quality assurance team. The results of the testing showed that real fur was NOT present in the product.
“Following the enquiry made by the Humane Society the item has been removed from sale. We uphold our commitment against the sale of real fur in any of our products and continue to investigate the matter internally and with the supplier in question, and we do so as a matter of priority.”