Four Major Department Stores Sued Over Discount Practices

The Los Angeles city attorney claims Macy’s sold a cross pendant necklace with a false reference price

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Kohl’s, and Macy’s, alleging the four prominent department stores misled shoppers by advertising phony discounts.

The complaint against Macy’s, filed Dec. 7 in Los Angeles Superior Court, is the only one that targets jewelry sales in particular.

In May, the case charges, Macy’s sold a “Giani Bernini Large Cross Pendant Necklace in Sterling Silver” online with an “original” price of $120 and a “sale” price of $30. The case calls the $120 “original price” a “false reference price,” charging that the necklace never sold online for more than $30.

The full complaint can be seen here. Macy’s did not return a request for comment.

The other complaints are similar. J.C. Penney was sued for allegedly advertising a maternity swim top with a false reference price; Kohl’s, for a pair of Cargo pants; and Sears, for a washing machine.

The suits seek injunctions against false reference pricing and civil penalties up to $2,500 for each violation. 

“Customers have the right to be told the truth about the prices they’re paying—and to know if a bargain is really a bargain,” said Feuer in a statement.

Under California law, retailers cannot advertise a “regular price” unless it was the prevailing market price within three months of the advertisement, or unless the date of that price is conspicuously stated in the ad, the statement says.  

 J.C. Penney and Kohl’s have been subject to class action suits making similar charges. Both denied the allegations.

JCK News Director