Committee of Advertising Practice issues a new Enforcement Notice on Misleading “Faux Fur” claims in clothes and accessories ads

The Enforcement Notice from CAP follows two recent ASA rulings (ASA Ruling on Zacharia Jewellers and ASA Ruling on Boohoo.com UK Ltd) in which the ASA found that ads for faux fur products were misleading because they turned out to contain some real animal fur.

Under the Enforcement Notice, UK retailers, including sellers on UK-facing online platforms and marketplaces, must ensure their advertising is line with the Notice by 11 February 2019. The Compliance team will take targeted enforcement action from this date to ensure a level playing field.

CAP does not think retailers and sellers are deliberately misleading consumers. It understands problems usually arise from supply chain pollution or lack of education and enforcement. Nonetheless, CAP says, “the buck stops with the advertiser”, so it important steps are taken to ensure retailers and sellers abide by the rules.

On a basic level, advertisers must not claim products are made from “faux fur” if they contain real animal fur.

On a more practical level the Notice provides tips, including a three-step animal fur identification test, and a list of do’s and don’ts, to help advertisers keep to the rules.

CAP recognises that it may be difficult for online marketplaces to examine all the products sold on the platform, but it says “that does not remove the responsibility they have to ensure that the products sold on the platform are correctly described”.

If there is a “no animal fur policy”, online marketplaces should proactively educate marketplace sellers on how to tell real fur from faux fur and make sure their policies match up to their promise. To access the Enforcement Notice, click here.