Last year several Savage x Fenty customers began to notice that they had been enrolled in a $50 a month VIP plan for the label, even though they didn’t remember subscribing to it. Now the nonprofit group Truth in Advertising has officially alerted the Federal Trade Commission of what they call deceptive marketing at Savage x Fenty , including “enrolling consumers into a negative-option offer without disclosing all the material terms and conditions of the offer.”
When The Goods reported on the membership fees in 2019 they described the confusing enrollment process: if you add a product at full price to your cart the site will add a VIP discount and a membership option. Those who don’t notice the added membership and delete it then are saddled with a yearly or monthly membership service, which is difficult to cancel.
In a press release Truth in Advertising also calls out Savage x Fenty for failing to disclose if influencers are connected to the company, collecting social media posts from 21 different influencers who didn’t properly disclose they were marketing for the company. “Unfortunately, Savage X Fenty’s diverse and inclusive marketing campaign is being used to lure unsuspecting consumers into unwanted negative-option offers that they are then having difficulty canceling,” TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten said in the release. “Such deceptive and illegal business practices need to stop immediately.”
In a New York Times report a Savage x Fenty representative responded to the claims, calling them false. “At Savage x Fenty, 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,” she told the paper.
Since its debut Rihanna’s lingerie line Savage x Fenty has been celebrated (often by this very site) for the steps it has taken to make its lingerie line more inclusive and for the diversity of its brand. In the aftermath of Victoria’s Secret’s decline, the lingerie and underwear world has experienced a major shift as consumers turn to smaller women run brands that stress bodily diversity, Savage x Fenty being one of the forerunners of that change. But the news of the line’s allegedly sketchy business practices that may take advantage of buyers unfortunately clouds the progress the brand has made in this space.