A sale sign in the window of a shop with people in motion in the foreground.

Is it really a sale price? It better be, if you claim it is

Online wine retailer Wines ‘Til Sold Out was sued in a class action for allegedly tricking customers into buying wines by listing original prices at which the products were never actually sold and exaggerating percentage discounts to make shoppers think they were getting a great deal. Such practice violate several state and federal laws aimed at protecting consumers with fair trade practices. State Attorney Generals get involved in case like this where the general public is affected.

This case should be a reminder and warning to craft beverage retailers who have what seems to be a perpetually discounted price being offered for a particular product. Businesses can create their own prices, and offer discounts on those prices. However, it must be accurate in its representations and advertising. Sales puffery is not the issue. It misstating actual facts that cause the violations of advertising laws. A business cannot state that a product or service has a regular price of $X if it doesn’t actually charge that price a substantial amount of the time. If the product or service is almost always at the discounted price, then its true regular price is that discounted price charged on a regular basis.

The case is Cannon et al. v. Ashburn Corp. et al., case number 1:16-cv-01452, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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