Non-profit watchdog group Truth in Advertising has now filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that says the lingerie company has been practicing what they call deceptive marketing—or promoting discounts that customers can only use after paying $50 for a monthly VIP subscription, CBS News reports.
“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 alleges.
The watchdog group found that the company’s webstore automatically showed VIP member pricing. When a customer places an item in their shopping cart, the VIP membership is automatically added without specifying its $49.95 monthly recurring fee—and the price isn’t included in the total amount.
Shoppers only find out about the monthly charge in the site's fine print during checkout. Customers can see regular pricing and not get charged the membership fee if they know to remove it from their carts.
"By default, the company enrolls 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 alleges.
Truth in Advertising has also asserted that Savage X Fenty inaccurately says monthly fees can be used as store credit, when customers have to spend at least $49.95 to recoup it. That information isn’t shared in marketing materials, the group alleges. Moreover, the complaint says the company has social media influencers promote its lingerie without publicizing the nature of their relationship.
A Savage X Fenty representative responded to the claims, telling the New York Times that they’re 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 said.
Rihanna launched Savage X Fenty in May 2018.