There’s nothing quite like getting a great deal. But how do you know that the great bargain you just found is really as good as advertised?
As CBS Los Angeles reports, that is the question at the heart of a class action suit against discount retailer T.J. Maxx.
Though T.J. Maxx shoppers depend on the “compare at” prices printed on the store’s price tags to know how good a deal they have, the lawsuit claims that the comparison prices are actually a case of “deceptive advertising.”
When Becky Worley, a special correspondent for Good Morning America, visited a local store, she found a confusing system where the comparison price listed sometimes directly contradicted other information— such as the manufacturer’s original tags.
For example, a Michael Kors purse priced at $228 had a comparison price of $328 while the manufacturer’s tags still on the purse included an original retail price of $278— $50 less than TJ’s “compare at” price.
Even more, a quick search on Macys.com showed the purse as having a retail price of $278.
According to Rigo Reyes, Chief of Investigations at the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer & Business Affairs, the discrepancy creates a problem for consumers.
“When I walk into a store and I see the comparison price, I want to feel like I’m getting a really good deal,” Reyes told CBS Los Angeles. “It is very important that those prices are true and accurate and not misleading.”
T.J. Maxx claims that the comparison prices are arrived at based on their staff’s best estimate, but deny that the system misleads their customers.
“At T.J. Maxx, we are committed to delivering exceptional value to our customers every day,” said a company spokesperson.
“It is the foundation of our business. We tell our customers what we mean by ‘compare at’ prices, both through signage in our stores as well as language on our T.J. Maxx website. Transparency is important to us, and integrity is ingrained in our culture. Beyond that, we do not comment on pending litigation.”
Reyes says that it’s important for customers to be able to base their purchasing decisions on clear, objective information— not the best guess of a store employee.
“The whole point here is that consumers want to make a decision based on true, clear information,” said Reyes.
Fortunately, savvy shoppers can now use a smartphone app that scans an item’s bar code to find the best available price.