Online retailers sold ‘faux fur’ fashion items that contained REAL animal fur

Online retailers have been slammed by watchdogs for selling fake fur fashion items that contained real animal fur.

Boohoo and Zacharia Jewellers were both found to be misleading customers following complaints by animal welfare campaigners who conducted their own tests.

A ‘Faux Fur Pom Pom Jumper’ advertised on boohoo.com last September was found to contain real fur, most likely from rabbits.

And ‘Zac’s Alter Ego Faux Fur Pom Pom Headband’ – advertised on internet marketplace Amazon in the same month – was also found to contain real fur, probably from rabbits.

Investigations in to both adverts were launched by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following complaints by Humane Society International which understood that both products contained real fur after conducting their own tests.

Both firms were found to have breached rules regarding “misleading advertising” and “substantiation” and the adverts were banned.

The firms were also warned not to state that products included “faux fur” again, if that was not the case.

Boohoo bosses claimed they had a “strong commitment” against the sale of real fur in any of their products.

The firm said it had “robust” policies and procedures to ensure they were able to adhere to the commitment.

Boohoo said the product description on the website stated ‘Faux Fur Pom Pom Jumper’ as it was their understanding that the item did not contain real fur.

They said 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.

A proportion of all stock which contained ‘faux fur’ was inspected by Boohoo’s quality control team, according to the firm.

Boohoo said a sample of the jumper had been recorded as having passed the internal checks, so it was not sent for further checks.

The firm said it had since withdrawn the product from sale on their website until the matter was resolved and had stopped placing further orders with the supplier.

But an ASA spokesman said: “We considered that consumers would understand that the garment did not contain real animal fur.

“We noted that Humane Society International had purchased a sample of the product.

“They had commissioned a test report from an independent textiles analysis expert, which was provided to the ASA.

“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.

“Boohoo’s records showed that a sample of fur from the product in question had passed internal tests.

“However, given that we had seen evidence that the product obtained by Humane Society International contained real animal fur, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

“The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.

“We told Boohoo.com UK not to state that products included ‘faux fur’, if that was not the case.”

Herts-based Zacharia Jewellers said they had been informed when they bought the products in China that they were faux fur.

Bosses said they were “shocked” to learn that they contained real fur and had taken down the listing from Amazon and removed the product from their website.

The ASA spokesman said: “We noted that Humane Society International had purchased a sample of the product.

“They had commissioned a test report from an independent textiles analysis expert, which was provided to the ASA.

“The report stated that 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 Zacharia Jewellers had removed the product from sale following receipt of the complaint.

“However, given that we had seen evidence that the product obtained by Humane Society International contained real animal fur, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

By Stephen Beech

pic: stock image

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