Do Retailers Use Pricing Schemes to Mislead You?

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Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are among the latest retailers to be sued over allegedly “deceptive and misleading” pricing practices.

A federal class-action lawsuit was filed against the department store chains, both owned by Macy’s Inc., late last month.

Plaintiffs Kristin Haley and Sylvia Thompson accuse the companies of misrepresenting price discounts at their regular and outlet stores “by purporting to offer steep discounts off fabricated, arbitrary and false … prices.”

The lawsuit continues:

“Specifically, Defendants represented on the price tags of their products … prices that were artificially inflated and arbitrary and did not represent a bona fide price at which they previously sold such products or the prevailing market price for such items.

Defendants then offered … to sell the items for a reduced or discounted sale price, which supposedly represented a significant discount …”

In some cases, items were sold at listed or original prices that had been inflated to at least twice the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, and then marked down by at least 50 percent, according to the lawsuit. As a result, the apparently discounted price was actually the same as the MSRP.

Last year, research by the Center for the Study of Services — also known as “Consumers’ Checkbook” — found Macy’s (along with Sears and Kohl’s) to be among the worst retailers for “deceptive advertising practices” and, in some cases, violations of federal law.

To learn how the center recommends that shoppers protect themselves against such “sales” practices, don’t miss “How to Avoid Being Suckered by a Store’s Fake ‘Sale.’

To learn how to take advantage of final sales that started this week at Macy’s stores that are scheduled to close, don’t miss “36 Macy’s Stores to Close.”

Do you agree with this lawsuit’s accusations about inflated prices and discounts at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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