Clothes shops have been selling real fur, but advertising it as fake. After an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority discovered this practice was widespread, they have ordered retailers to stop immediately. The agency has given retailers a deadline of 11 February to change their ways or face punishment.

Why would a retailer advertise fur as fake?

Often a retailer has been mis-led somewhere in their supply chain, but the Advertising Standards Authority, say this is not an excuse. They say the companies need to take charge of this and make sure they are not mis-leading their consumers.

Miles Lockwood, Director of Complaints at the ASA spoke to the Victoria Derbyshire program and had this to say: “We are giving retailers to 11 February to get their house in order. This follows two rulings in which we found that two retailers including Boohoo have been selling real fur but labelling it as faux fur. Our enforcement notice put all retailers and advertisers on notice that they need to check advertising claims that they are making to make sure that they are not selling real fur and labelling it as faux fur. They have got till 11 February and if we find there are problems after that date, we will take action against those retailers.”

The ASA have a list of sanctions they can impose against companies who continue with this practice. They can take down the offending companies online advertising, and refer them to trading standards who can take legal action which could lead to fines and criminal prosecution.

How do you know if Fur is Faux or Real?

Retailers have been known to label real fur as faux. On Fur farms animals are known to be kept in filthy stressful conditions. They are killed using the cheapest methods available, shockingly this includes electrocution and gas.

How to distinguish real fur from faux fur:

    • 1. Separate the fur to see if the backing looks like skin.

2. With faux fur, you can see that the individual hairs are stitched in rows on a fabric backing.

3. Look at the tips, real fur hairs taper to a fine point. Faux fibres are usually blunt at the end.

4. If you are concerned what you are purchasing might be real fur, leave it on the shelf. You can always report it to the appropriate authorities later.

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