Online fashion retailer Oh Polly has come under fire after running an Instagram competition for NHS workers, but refusing to give a prize to a student nurse as she was busy working a 12-hour shift.
Lara Harper was thrilled to have won the fast fashion retailer’s competition for frontline workers, with the prize including a “care pack” and the chance to join in a “virtual cocktail party” wearing a new outfit provided by Oh Polly.
Harper was however denied the prize, as she was not available to be on a Zoom video call and ‘virtual cocktail party’ with other ‘Oh Polly babes’, as she was working a 12-hour shift tonight.
Imagine entering an @ohpolly comp for NHS WORKERS and winning but can’t participate due to working a 12hr shift on Friday on the FRONTLINE and then being told you can’t claim the care package and outfit because you’re unable to be on the video call 😅😅😅
— LaraHarper (@LaraHarper) April 22, 2020
Oh Polly reached out on twitter to publicly apologise, stating: “We’d really like to apologise. There’s been a misunderstanding internally on the logistical aspect of this event and you’re completely within your rights to be upset by this response.
“As mentioned on messages, the original box you won was only relevant to the activity taking place on Friday on FaceTime but as agreed we’d still love to send you an outfit.
“We’re unbelievably grateful for what yourself and everyone else on the frontline are currently doing and once again we can only apologise for this mix up.”
Since the comments were made public, several customers of the retailer have labelled their actions as a “exploitative” and a “marketing opportunity”.
Speaking to student publication The Tab, Harper said: “I think it is a bit disrespectful. Promoting how they are making a competition for NHS workers to then deprive them of the prize due to them being at work.”
She added: “I have accepted their offer of the free dress, but I doubt I will be buying anything from them again.”
Rival fast fashion retailer have since PrettyLittleThing reached out to Harper, offering her free clothing from their site.
— PrettyLittleThing (@OfficialPLT) April 23, 2020
At the time of publication, the original tweet has garnered over 4,500 retweets, and 63,000 favourites.