A new lawsuit by Santa Clara County accuses pop superstar Rihanna’s lingerie company Savage X Fenty of deceiving customers by automatically enrolling them in a “VIP” program with automatic recurring credit card charges.
Savage X Fenty by Rihanna broke California’s just-tightened automatic-renewal law through the scheme, according to the suit filed by Santa Clara and four other counties, including Santa Cruz, on behalf of the people of California.
“When consumers purchased (Savage X Fenty’s) products on its website, (the company) would automatically add an automatically recurring paid VIP membership into the consumers’ shopping bag, causing the consumers’ credit card (to) be charged repeatedly … until cancelled by the consumers,” the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court claimed. The suit was filed last month but was only registered and released Monday.
Savage X Fenty did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A quote from Rihanna on the firm’s website includes the comment, “Savage X means making your own rules.”
The five counties accused the company of fraud, alleging that its actions “were likely to deceive members of the public and were performed with that intent.”
Savage X Fenty failed to properly disclose the terms and conditions of the auto-renewal program “clearly and conspicuously on its website,” and did not obtain customers’ “affirmative and express informed consent” to the program, the suit alleged. The firm also did not provide “a simple online mechanism for customers to stop recurring charges,” the suit claimed.
The firm also told customers that store credit accrued via VIP membership could be used at any time when in fact it could only be used for purchases costing more than the value of the credit, the suit alleged.
The counties are seeking a court order barring Savage X Fenty from engaging in any “misleading and/or deceptive” statements, repayment to California customers of money allegedly “wrongfully obtained,” and fines of $2,500 for each violation of California’s Business and Professions Code. The suit did not specify a number of alleged violations or an amount allegedly taken illegally from customers.
Barbadian singer Rihanna launched her lingerie company in 2018, with an extensive sizing range that promoted a “body-positive message,” according to Vogue magazine. “You can be cute and playful one week and a black widow next week,” Rihanna told Vogue. “You can take risks with lingerie.”
Savage X Fenty has five stores across the U.S., including one in California, in Culver City. The lawsuit does not include claims regarding sales from the brick-and-mortar shops.
California’s automatic-renewal law, first passed in 2009, was tightened July 1 after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a state bill written by Assembly member Marc Berman, who represents parts of Silicon Valley, including Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.