NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Everyone loves a bargain, but just how much of a deal are you getting when you shop at discount stores?
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, major chains are now facing legal action over their price comparisons.
The best part of bargain hunting is finding a great deal, and at off price retailers like TJ Maxx it seems like everything is a great deal. The comparison price is right there on the tag.
But a proposed class action lawsuit filed last week contends those ‘compare at’ prices are bogus, tantamount to deceptive advertising, because in many cases it’s not the price you’d actually pay anywhere else.
“These are just techniques to make the consumer feel like they’re getting a deal, because frankly consumers are addicted to deals,” psychologist Kit Yarrow said.
Yarrow said the compare at prices provide an implied assurance of value.
“In an age where consumers don’t trust retailers, seeing that they’re getting a discount or a value or a deal is often the impetus needed to buy,” Yarrow explained.
But ‘compare at’ prices may now give consumers one more reason not to trust retailers.
“As long as I’m getting a good deal as I’m buying it. They can say it’s $100, I still think everything is overpriced,” Stellablue Porzungolo said.
“I do feel like I’m getting cheated, but it does make you feel like you’re getting a bargain,” Nancy Stone said.
TJ Maxx admits online that they’re simply the ‘buying staff’s estimate.’
CBS2 found in many cases, the folks on TJ Maxx’s buying staff aren’t very good at estimating. Hair spray that the staff said retails for $20, appeared to be about $15.50.
They underestimated a toning wheel’s ‘compare at’ price which actually retails for as much as $10 more than the TJ Maxx sticker suggests.
TJ Maxx isn’t alone. Burlington Coat Factory and Nordstrom Rack both faced similar suits for their comparison pricing.
Many high-end retailers have been accused of deceptive marketing at their outlet stores.
While TJ Maxx’s ‘compare at’ price may be inaccurate, their prices were still pretty low. Branded items checked by CBS2 could not be found for less anywhere else.
So, you may still find a deal, just not the bargain you’re hunting for.
TJ Maxx declined to comment on the class action lawsuit.