Society

Customers Can Now Sue Department Stores That Falsely Advertise Discounts

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A judge recently ruled that consumers are now able to sue stores if they hide the fact that an item is not discounted as much as advertised.

The ruling only applies to California. It stems from a legal complaint from Antonio S. Hinjonos, who said he would not have purchased items from Kohl's if he knew that the items were not discounted as much as they were advertised to be.

In the complaint, he said he purchased luggage because it was advertised as 50 percent off the original $299.99 pricetag. He also though he was getting 39 percent off of polo shirts that were priced at $36 per shirt.

But he soon found that those original prices were not actually the real prices, so the discount was not accurate.

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"Price advertisements matter," judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the finding. "When a consumer purchases merchandise on the basis of false price information, and when the consumer alleges that he would not have made the purchase but for the misrepresentation, he has standing to sue."

"Here, Hinjoes specifically and plausibly alleges that Kohl's falsely markets its products at reduced prices precisely because consumers such as himself reasonably regard price reductions as material information when making purchasing decisions."

At first, the case was dismissed, but the ruling was overturned on Tuesday by the 9th Circuit.

Sources: Daily Mail, LA Times