Rihanna has expanded herself beyond music in the last few years, positing herself as a successful business mogul. The singer founded the inclusive lingerie brand Savage X Fenty in 2018 and expansive makeup line Fenty Beauty in 2017. Rihanna has gained much success from the businesses, making her the world’s richest female musician. But the brand is now under fire. Savage X Fenty is being accused of false advertising by non-profit watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA).
TINA filed a complaint against Savage X Fenty with the Federal Trade Commission. According to the complaint, TINA is accusing Savage X Fenty of practicing “deceptive marketing,” according to CBS News. Particularly, the organization says Savage X Fenty advertises discounts that are, in reality, only available for those with monthly $50 VIP subscriptions. “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,” TINA wrote in the complaint.
On Savage X Fenty’s website, customers get at 50% VIP discount added to their cart automatically. It’s only in the fine print that one can see the discount is exclusively for those who subscribe monthly. “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.
Savage X Fenty’s representative responded to the complaint. “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,” the representative told the New York Times.
TINA’s complaint against the company isn’t the first time the lingerie brand’s parent company, TechStyle (formerly JustFab) has gotten into hot water. In 2014, the company settled a $1.8 million lawsuit for deceptive marketing practices. The ruling prohibited the company from using “negative option offers,” which is exactly what TINA is accusing Savage X Fenty of.