It’s a faux fur fake-out.
Two online retailers, Boohoo and Zacharia Jewellers, have been called out in separate rulings for promoting pompom sweaters and headbands featuring fake fur — when in fact it was real, likely rabbit.
“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, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority’s director of complaints, told The Guardian. “That’s not just misleading; it can also be deeply upsetting.”
Real fur products being advertised as fake is a widespread issue in the UK that animal activist group the Humane Society International has been cracking down on. It spotted the mislabeled fluffballs in September and sent samples out for lab testing, which confirmed they were far from fake.
Both Boohoo and Zacharia have since ceased sale of the fur products — a sweater and a headband, respectively.
“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,” Boohoo reps said in a statement. “Following the inquiry by HSI the item has been removed from sale. We continue to investigate the matter internally and with the supplier in question, as a matter of priority.”
Zacharia, meanwhile, blamed its Chinese manufacturer for the mix-up and pulled its listing from Amazon.
“It’s completely unacceptable that compassionate consumers setting out to buy fake fur are being misled into buying animal fur,” Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International, tells the BBC. “These two examples are the latest in a long list of ‘fake faux fur’ items we’ve found for sale, so we hope that the ASA’s rulings will send a strong message to the industry and make retailers work harder to give consumers confidence in avoiding cruel animal fur.”