United Kingdom fast-fashion retailer Romwe was recently penalized by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making misleading claims about “faux fur” products that contain real animal fur. Animal-rights organization Humane Society International/UK (HSI) filed a complaint with the ASA after the nonprofit purchased a “Flamingo & Slogan Print Faux Fur Detail Top & Striped Pants PJ Set” that claimed to have “faux fur detail” and “Black Artificial Mink Fur Ball Earrings” that claimed to be made from “black artificial mink fur.” After conducting lab tests, HSI found that the PJ set contained rabbit fur while the earrings were made with real mink fur. Romwe’s website FAQ page also tells customers that it does not sell real fur or leather. The ASA issued Romwe an Enforcement Notice in January 2019 and contacted the company again in January 2020 when it became aware that the retailer was continuing to sell real fur as faux. As part of the ASA’s ruling for non-compliance, Romwe has been listed as a non-compliant advertiser for breaking UK Committees of Advertising Practice rules 3.1 (misleading advertising) and 3.7 (substantiation), and may face further sanctions. “Consumers should be able to trust the ads they see and hear and they certainly shouldn’t be misled into buying a faux fur product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be from a real animal,” Miles Lockwood, ASA Director of Complaints and Investigations, said. “That’s not just misleading, it can also be deeply upsetting. Our rulings serve as an important notice to retailers and the clothing and textile industry about the need for truthfulness in their ad claims around faux fur products, and to get their house in order or face further action.”

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