Rihanna’s lingerie company Savage X Fenty has been accused of engaging in deceptive marketing by the consumer advocacy watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA), following numerous customer complaints.
On Monday, the watchdog group published a report in which it alleged that the singer’s company promotes discounts to customers that are only available after paying for a $50-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,” the complaint reads.
Products displayed on Savage X Fenty’s website automatically displays prices only available for VIP members.
According to customer complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau, many unknowingly signed up for the membership when purchasing apparel from the site - as Rihanna’s company automatically includes a membership subscription at checkout but does not include the price.
“The ad itself doesn’t disclose what you’re buying,” Shana Mueller, a spokesperson for TINA told CNN. “There’s also a little extra item in your shopping cart that says ‘Membership’. There’s no price next to it. It’s just a little x.”
"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," the complaint states.
The price of membership is not disclosed to customers until checkout. According to the fine print, members can save on every single style and can opt to “skip the month” if they are not purchasing anything, as long as it is before the fifth of the month.
“If you don’t shop or ‘skip the month’ by the fifth of each month, your payment method will be charged $49.95 on the sixth until you cancel your membership,” the description of the membership reads.
According to Mueller, in addition to billing customers each month, whether they purchase anything or not, the discount only applies to products that cost more than the monthly membership fee.
For items such as the Savage X Short Robe, the cost with membership is $32, rather than $82. However, when including the price of the monthly membership, the cost for the item would come out to $77.99.
TINA has since filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the California District Attorney’s office for Santa Cruz County, alleging that the singer’s company violated the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) and other laws.
Rihanna launched Savage X Fenty, which has previously been praised for its inclusivity, in May 2018.
The Independent has contacted Savage X Fenty for comment.
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