Cleveland, OH (PRWEB) May 30, 2013
A class action lawsuit was filed Friday, May 24th in the Northern District of Ohio (Case # 1:13-cv-01175-LW, Northern District of Ohio, US District Court) alleging that men’s clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank has engaged in deceptive and unlawful advertising, by falsely promising free goods in combination with the purchase of suits, sportcoats and dress pants at regular prices.
According to court documents, plaintiffs John Schneider, Andrew Bucher and Robert Smith brought the lawsuit on behalf of all individuals who purchased a suit, sport coat or dress pants from Jos A. Bank where that garment purchased was advertised to either be a certain percentage off of “regular price” or required the purchase of one garment at “regular price” in order to get other items for “free.” The lawsuit claims that Jos. A. Banks drastically inflated its regular prices in order to pass along the cost of the free goods to the customer, which is illegal in Ohio according to the Complaint filed on May 24, 2013. In addition to the promotion of free goods, Jos. A. Banks also advertises false price reduction from regular prices that don’t truly exist.
The central allegation in the Complaint is that Jos. A. Bank artificially inflates the “regular price” of their merchandise to give consumers the impression that they are getting a “deal” or a “bargain” when, in fact, they are not. “Study upon study has shown that this type of deceptive marketing is effective in attracting consumers and increasing the likelihood they will buy a given product,” says Daniel Frech, an attorney for the Plaintiffs. “They think they are getting a bargain because they are buying a suit that other consumers paid $595 for a half or a third of that price – but, as the New York Attorney General’s report makes clear, almost no one ever actually pays $595 for that suit.’”
Ohio has very specific laws designed to protect consumers from this sort of false and misleading advertising. For example, the Ohio Administrative Code specifically prohibits “the practice of advertising or offering goods or services as “free” when in fact the cost of the “free” offer is passed on to the consumer by raising the regular (base) price of the goods or services that must be purchased in connection with the “free” offer.” (codes.ohio.gov/oac/109:4-3-04)
Ohio law requires that “regular price” claims in advertising and marketing materials be “the price at which the goods or services are openly and actively sold by a supplier to the public on a continuing basis for a substantial period of time” (codes.ohio.gov/oac/109:4-3-04). When then-New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigated Jos A. Bank’s sales practices in New York, however, he found that less than 1% of Jos A. Bank’s suits, formal wear, dress pants and sport coats were sold at the advertised “regular price.” The Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that a similarly tiny percentage of garments Jos. A. Bank sells in Ohio are sold at “regular price.” (ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/press-releases/archived/sep14a_04_attach1.pdf)
The lawsuit seeks to prevent Jos. A. Banks from allegedly continuing to use deceptive and illegal advertising in Ohio and to recover damages based on the difference between the stated regular price of Jos A. Banks suits, sport coats and dress pants and the true “regular price.”
The individual plaintiffs and the class are represented by Cleveland, Ohio-based Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP, 1001 Lakeside Avenue East, Suite 1700, Cleveland, OH, (216) 696-3232 Office, (216) 696-3924 Fax; Mayle, Ray & Mayle LLC, 210 South Front Street, Fremont, OH 43420, (419) 334-8377 Office, (419) 355-9698 Fax; and Tycko & Zavareei, LLP in Washington, D.C. All three firms have previously been involved in consumer class action lawsuits in Ohio.