Italian Influencer Chiara Ferragni Was Fined Over $1 Million for Misleading Consumers

Jamie Lerner - Author

Dec. 19 2023, Published 10:13 p.m. ET

Chiara Ferragni with cakes
Source: Instagram/@chiaraferragni

The Gist:

  • Chiara Ferragni's holiday cake collaboration with Balocco misled consumers about charity donations.
  • Her companies received a €1.075 million ($1.18 million) fine for the lack of actual donations to the promised charity.
  • Chiara apologized, pledged to return €1 million to a children's hospital, and vowed to separate charity from commercial activities in the future.
Article continues below advertisement

Sometimes it feels like we’re living completely different lives from influencers and high-end fashion bloggers. They post about their luxury clothes and beautiful apartments, attempting to convince people that they’re just like us, while they simultaneously extort us. Italian fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni did just that when partnering with cakemaker Balocco to “raise money for charity.”

As news outlets have been sharing Chiara’s well-timed apology and donation, her followers need a recap on what exactly happened and why. Here's what we know about the scandal and the fine she had to pay.

Article continues below advertisement
Chiara Ferragni arrives for the dinner at Langosteria Cucina on Nov. 8, 2023
Source: Getty Images

Chiara Ferragni’s companies have been fined €1.075 million for misleading consumers.

A year after the crime, Chiara was reprimanded by the Italian antitrust authority (AGCM). Basically, in December 2022, Chiara partnered with cakemaker Balocco in a holiday-themed cross-promotion. Together, they would be selling a Ferragni-branded pandoro, which is a Christmas-themed alternative to panettone.

Article continues below advertisement

Pandoros typically sell for €3-4, but this high-end one was priced at €9 each. When promoting the cakes, Chiara led people to believe that by buying the cakes, the money made would go to a charity for bone cancer research at a hospital in Turin, Italy. In addition, she said she would be making donations of her own.

Chiara Ferragni attends the Lancome X Louvre photocall as part of Paris Fashion Week on Sept. 26, 2023
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

However, AGCM found in their investigation, which was announced in June 2023, that neither Chiara nor her companies donated any money to the charity. In addition, Balocco had donated €50,000 before the advertising campaign began, but that just proves that the cake sales didn't impact donations.

As punishment, Chiara’s companies and Balocco have been fined. Chiara was fined €1.075 million, while Balocco was fined just €420,000. Their payments would go to the Italian government, which is why Chiara plans to challenge the ruling.

Article continues below advertisement

Chiara Ferragni has apologized for “miscommunication” to rectify the situation.

In a lengthy Instagram video, Chiara apologized for her actions. “I have always been convinced that the luckiest have a moral responsibility to do good,” she wrote in her Instagram caption (translated from Italian). “We also teach [our children] that you can make mistakes, and that when it happens you need to admit, and if possible, fix the mistake made and treasure it.”

Article continues below advertisement

“And that's what I want to do now,” she continued. “Apologize and give concrete action to my gesture: I will return 1 million euros to Queen Margaret to support children's care. But it’s not enough: I do it publicly because I realized I made a communication error. A mistake I will treasure in the future, completely separating any charity, which I have always done and will continue to do, from commercial activities.”

Chiara vowed to argue AGCM’s ruling because it was disproportionate, but anything they lower it by she will add to her donation to the children’s hospital. While her apology may seem genuine, some commenters have accused her “crocodile tears” and believe she would have kept the money if she hadn't been found out.

Regardless of what exactly happened, at least the money is now going where it belongs.

More from Distractify

Latest Influencers News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.