You might recall a story from early 2019 about online retailers who were promoting 'faux fur' bobble hats, which actually included some real fur.
In that case, the ASA received complaints from Humane Society International (HSI) about 'faux fur' claims made on the websites of various retailers. HSI had evidence that the bobble hats included real marmot fur, so were not really 'faux fur'. The ASA upheld rulings against various online retailers.
As part of that investigation, the ASA sent out an Enforcement Notice to a number of retailers, inlcuding Sorelle. The ASA 'requested' that they remove the “faux fur” claims from the bobble faux fur beanie page of their website, to avoid misleading consumers. Which Sorelle duly did in relation to the bobble beanie.
However, as part of that initiative, the ASA asked Sorelle to check the labels for all the other products labelled “faux fur” on their website and to send images of those labels, and explain what steps they had taken to test the products to ensure that they did not contain animal fur. It seems that Sorelle failed to comply.
Fast forward to December 2019, and the ASA received fresh complaints from HSI about three product listings for jackets seen on www.sorelleuk.com in December 2019 which stated “River Faux Fur Jacket – Black”, “River Faux Fur Jacket – Pink”, and “River Faux Fur Jacket – White”, alongside images of models wearing the products.
The ASA requested proof from Sorelle that these products only used faux fur rather than real fur. The ASA asked for test reports of the jackets. Sorelle failed to provide that evidence.
In the absence of that evidence to substantiate their faux fur claims, the ASA concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
The ASA was concerned by Sorelle's lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). The ASA reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future. The matter has been referred to the CAP Compliance team.
The ASA challenged whether the claim “faux fur” in the product listings was misleading and could be substantiated.