Executives at Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie company have been accused of “deceptive marketing”.
A complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the California District Attorney’s office for Santa Cruz County by officials at non-profit watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA). They have alleged the organisation has been attempting to dupe customers by promoting discounts that can only be used once they sign up for the $49.95-a-month VIP subscription.
“It deceptively promotes discounts and product prices that are only available to consumers who are bound to the company’s membership program without clearly and conspicuously disclosing this fact in its marketing materials,” a TINA spokesperson commented in the complaint.
According to the watchdog, they discovered that when using the Savage X Fenty online shop, the VIP membership is automatically added when a customer adds something to the shopping basket.
However, the monthly recurring fee isn’t included in the total amount, and shoppers are only made aware of it in the site’s small print during the checkout process. It’s only if they know to remove the monthly membership from their carts that customers can see the normal price of items.
“By default, the company enrols consumers into a negative option offer known as the Xtra VIP Membership without clearly and conspicuously disclosing all the material terms and conditions, such as needing to take affirmative action every month to avoid recurring monthly charges,” they continued.
Following the complaint filing, Emma Tully, a spokesperson for Savage X Fenty, which Rihanna launched in May 2018, responded via email to CNN Business.
“These accusations are false and based on misconceptions of our business. We are proud of our flexible membership programme because it allows us to offer unparalleled quality and value to our customers,” she stated. “We believe strongly in transparency, which is why we provide multiple disclosures of membership terms throughout the shopping experience, within advertisements, and through our ambassador engagement policies.”
Tully added that Savage X Fenty hasn’t received any inquiries from the Federal Trade Commission as yet.
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