Companies found to be advertising real fur as fake or faux fur after 11 February 2019 will face sanctions and will be prosecuted for falsely advertising.
Copyright File pic.
Interestingly, on this the first anniversary of my post ‘Canine couture could be faced with prosecution’ published on the 11th of February 2018, and my earlier post ‘Fur or against ‘ published in January 2018, we are now told that there is an enforcement notice about misleading ‘faux fur’ claims.
There has been a growing concern that consumers have been misled by adverts for ‘faux fur’ products (aka ‘fake fur’) which in fact containes real animal fur. Consumers should expect products advertised as ‘false fur’ or ‘faux fur’ to contain no real animal fur.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) writes the adverting rules which are enforced by the U.K.’s independent regulators, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The CAP has issued an enforcement notice for immediate action to ensure advertising complies from January 2019.
If a company fails to comply after the 11th of February 2019, then CAP will take targeted enforcement action. This guidance only covers misleading advertising claims for faux fur which breaches the rules, across all media, including websites, social media and product listings online marketplace and platforms.
An exception is made for labelling. Labelling queries or complaints are directed to Trading Standards.
Zachariah jewellers ‘misleading’ faux fur ad.
Credit: PA for photo.
In January 2019 there was a ‘faux fur’ Pom Pom headband sold on Amazon by Zachariah jewellers where the complainant purchased the product and commissioned an independent textile analysis report; which revealed that the sample contained real animal fur – most likely rabbit.
The seller said that when they bought the products in China they were advised that the pom-poms were faux fur and was surprised to learn otherwise. The products were removed from sale, which was noted by the ASA, but the ASA still concluded that the faux fur claim was misleading.
The second case was a pom-pom jumper by online fashion retailer Boohoo. They prided themselves on a No-fur policy, and the jumper below was advertised as faux fur.
The jumpers were spotted by animal welfare charity Humane Society International in September 2018 as part of its ongoing investigation into the national problem of real fur being sold as faux across the UK.
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 be deeply upsetting.”
Companies are to no longer assume that low cost is a good indicator that the product does not contain animal fur. Due to current market conditions, animal fur is not necessarily more expensive than faux fur.
Companies are expected to test faux fur products themselves before putting them on sale, preferably by a laboratory. But if not available, then there is a basic three-step test which may also be useful:
1. Check the base of the fur – part the hairs at the base and look carefully at the material.
Animal fur – base of leather or skin (which may be white, tan or dyed)
Faux fur – look for a mesh or threaded fabric backing from which “hairs” emerge
2. Check the tips of the hair – does it taper? A magnifying glass and good lighting helps!
Animal fur – often tapers to a point. But do not rely solely on this test, however, because sometimes animal fur has been sheared or cut to a uniform length.
Faux fur – has blunt ends when you cut straight across.
3. The Burn Test – make sure you already own the item and cut off the hair first!
Animal fur – singes and smells like burnt human hair
Faux fur – when made from polyester or acrylic, the two most commonly used synthetics, faux fur melts and smells like burnt plastic
Real fur farming was banned in the UK in year 2000, as it was deemed as unethical.
Now cross party selections of MPs are calling for a ban on fur being imported from other countries. It’s not an excuse to say that you do not know. The availability of fur is becoming a growing problem from all over the world, and as I have said before, it will take consumers action to stop this continuing.
Monday 11th February cannot come soon enough!
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)
Animal Welfare Charity Humane Society International