Summary of Action

TINA.org investigated price advertising tactics used by outlet stores in Connecticut and found pervasive deception.  Specifically, TINA.org visited four outlet stores at Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton, Connecticut – J. Crew Factory, Coach Outlet, Hanna Andersson, and Skechers – on a weekly basis for more than six months (from February 17, 2017 to August 28, 2017) in order to track the advertised pricing for a sampling of products in each store.  The investigation revealed that all four stores run perpetual – and therefore fabricated and deceptive – sales on their products.

This type of fictitious pricing comparison, in which the outlet stores attempt to persuade consumers to think that they are receiving a great bargain, diminishes consumer welfare, undermines price competition, and takes sales away from honest retailers. It is a misleading marketing ploy that is incredibly effective at persuading consumers to stop searching for the best deal they can find, and results in consumers paying more than they necessarily need to.

As a result of these findings, TINA.org sent warning letters to each of the four stores identified as using this fictitious pricing tactic, urging them to stop the deceptive marketing immediately.  TINA.org also alerted the Connecticut Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Department to this issue as the findings clearly suggest that the practice is widespread and therefore should be addressed on a state-wide basis.

 

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