Fabletics — the online “discount” activewear brand with those inexplicably irritating Kate Hudson commercials — has come under fire yet again.
Since it was first introduced in 2013, Fabletics has been upsetting its customers with what many consider to be a deceptive subscription policy. In short, members sign up for a cheap-o first outfit, and are charged $49.95 each month after that — even if they don’t end up buying anything ever again. Customers do have an option to opt out each month, but those who’ve been duped feel that the instructions were not clarified at the time of their sign-up. And canceling a subscription requires a time-guzzling phone call.
After receiving thousands of complaints, the Better Business Bureau actually removed Fabletics’s parent company, JustFab, from its registry in May 2015. And now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is doing its own part to try and right Fabletics’s wrongs.
According to Power Retail, the clothing website — which was co-founded by Hudson — does not clarify its terms of service, adding that some customers had no idea they were signing up for a monthly subscription service at all. Cleary, Fabletics’s customer service issues are a global problem.
“We are putting online retailers on notice that they must clearly and prominently display any ongoing membership fees and we are warning consumers to look out for them when shopping online,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. “The ACCC has seen a spike in complaints from unhappy consumers regarding the use of the relatively new ‘subscription trap’ model by online retailers. This involves online retailers treating a consumer’s decision to make a single purchase as consent to signing them up to a paid, ongoing subscription service without adequately disclosing that the subscription service involves ongoing fees.”
In spite of its sometimes shady retail model, Fabletics was nothing if not cooperative, and apparently agreed to alter its website according to the ACCC’s wishes. Though, whether public opinion of the brand will improve — and if scorned customers will be willing to give Fabletics another go — remains to be seen.