Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. The 2017 Fashion Law Conference to be held at The New School in New York City on Feb. 10 is bursting with opportunities to explore law, fashion, and business. The retail community is one particularly fascinating area of study as retailers continue to see a rise in consumer class action litigation.
In a memorable “Saturday Night Live” skit, comedian Vanessa Bayer cleans up a kitchen mess with Jos. A. Bank clothing, parodying the retailer’s pricing promotions. “With their innovative ‘buy one get three free’ pricing, a suit from Jos. A. Bank is effectively cheaper than paper towels,” cast member Bayer says. A lawsuit was filed against men’s apparel store Jos. A. Bank for deceptive pricing but the suit was dismissed.
Calvin Klein, Burberry, J. Crew, Kohl’s, Gap, and New York & Company, Inc. have been the subject of class action lawsuits based on alleged false markdowns on products sold at their outlet stores. Complaints with retailers in general have contended that companies place both the retail price and “discount” price on price tags for products offered in their outlet stores, though these products were never offered for sale in any non-outlet retail store, and certainly not presented at the higher retail price. Retail chains are accused of misleading consumers with a “phantom pricing scheme” that inflates the savings available on items marked for sale.
Anthony V. Lupo, a Partner at Arent Fox LLP, will discuss issues affecting retailers, from omni-channel marketing trends to class action lawsuits. The panel “Retail Strategies: Special Issues for Retailers, Including Class Actions” will cover the latest legal and business aspects of retailing from in-house and outside counsel perspectives. Don’t miss the chance to learn from top experts in the field of law, fashion, and business! Register today to take advantage of discounted rates for the Fashion Law Conference.
Deceptive pricing is a trending legal topic: Retailers have been hit with class action suits accusing them of duping customers with sham original prices. Plaintiffs allege retailers of offering steep discounts off of fabricated, arbitrary, and false original, regular or “compare at” prices. Similarly, lawsuits have been filed challenging retailers’ advertising methods, including the use of Internet or emailed promotional material.
Everyone loves a good deal but deceptive and unfair marketing practices at retail stores are not what many buyers bargain for. In the past, outlet stores offered excess inventory or slightly damaged goods that retailers were unable to sell at regular retail stores. Today, however, a large percentage of merchandise sold in outlet stores was manufactured exclusively for these stores, and purchasers are unaware of this practice.
Retailers can conduct regular reviews of “sale” and outlet store prices to better understand if they are compliant with applicable state law as well as the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Against Deceptive Pricing and the Council for Better Business Bureaus’ recommendations. This is a rapidly changing area of law and both buyers and retailers must be cognizant of any potentially deceptive price comparisons.
Get a jumpstart on your legal education and sign up today for the Fashion Law Conference at http://www.fedbar.org/fashionlaw17.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations and social media campaigns.