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Retailers warned over mis-selling fake fur

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) is to crack down on retailers and brands that misleadingly claim to sell fake fur products.

The action comes after several retailers were found to have been advertising fake fur clothing that contains real fur. Companies that fail to adhere to the rules will face sanctions for misleading advertising.

The new system will be overseen by the compliance function of the ASA’s Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). It applies to all media, including online and social media in the UK.

The enforcement notice requires companies to take immediate action to ensure their advertising complies. If the CAP compliance function continues to see problems in this area after 11 February 2019, it will sanction the companies involved. Where advertisers are unwilling to comply, these sanctions may ultimately include referral to the ASA system’s legal backstop for misleading advertising, Trading Standards.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Consumers shouldn’t be misled into buying a faux fur product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be made from a real animal. That’s not just misleading, it can also be deeply upsetting.”

Earlier this month, Boohoo was given a warning by the 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3.1 for misleading advertising, and rule 3.7 for substantiation regarding its “faux fur pom pom jumper”, which was withdrawn from sale following a complaint from Humane Society International (HSI).

The ASA’s new system has been welcomed by the HSI, whose executive director for the UK Claire Bass said: “We welcome the ASA’s firm action to ban companies from falsely advertising real fur as faux.

“HSI UK’s investigations have shown time and time again a shocking amount of fake faux fur for sale in Britain, so we are delighted that the ASA is upholding our complaint and calling on retailers to take full responsibility to get their house in order.

”Fur is a product of animal suffering that most British consumers want nothing to do with, and they have the right to be confident that when they buy faux fur they are not being duped into buying the exact animal cruelty they are trying to avoid.”

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