Deceptive Pricing Class Actions Pose Risk For Retailers

Law360, New York (December 11, 2015, 10:51 AM EST) -- Major retailers recently have faced a spate of class action complaints alleging they have engaged in misrepresentations and false advertising through the deceptive use of a marketing strategy known as "price anchoring." Using this strategy, retailers advertise items with "sale" prices that are compared on the advertisement with "original" prices. Plaintiffs in these cases contend that the comparison "original" prices are deceiving in that they do not represent "true" prices for the items, thus leading consumers to falsely believe that they received bargains when they purchased the items at the marked "sale" prices. Courts facing these complaints generally have been reluctant to dispose of them in the early stages of litigation, allowing claims to proceed despite retailers' protestations that plaintiffs have failed to allege facts showing that the amount they paid exceeded the actual value of what they received. As a result, the rising tide of class action complaints alleging deceptive marketing practices appears unlikely to abate in the near future....

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