NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When you hear or see something is on sale, you probably assume it’s a limited-time deal.

If you do a bit of smart shopping, you may find that sale price is really just business as usual for some stores.

Most people will tell you the best part of bargain hunting is finding a great deal. Many, like Dana Wark won’t spend unless they’re saving.

“I don’t tend to buy designer things unless they are completely on sale,” she said.

It’s something retailers are aware of, and according to a new study something many cash in on.

The group “Consumer Checkbook” tracked sale prices at 19 national chains and found over ten months, the sale prices rarely changes.

Six stores kept certain items on sale more than 75 percent of the time;

  • JC Penney’s
  • KMart
  • Khol’s
  • Macy’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Sears

For example, a Keurig at Macy’s was on sale nine out of ten months. Another Craftsman tool kit at Sears was on so-called sale for 10 straight months.

Consumer advocate Joe Ridout points out if the regular price was never the real price, then the item was never actually on sale.

“Stores are manipulating consumers into overspending or buying things that they might not otherwise buy because they’re planting the seed that this is some special discount,” he said.

He says once they get you into the store, they know you’ll buy more.

TJ Maxx, Burlington, and Nordstrom Rack have all faced lawsuits for dishonest comparison pricing, while Khol’s was accused of marking prices up just to mark them back down.

The survey did find that two chains are holding what it calls “legitimate” sales.

At Costco and Bed Bath and Beyond, the sale prices were only in place less than half the time.

CBS2 reached out to all six retailers accused of holding sales that take place nearly year round, and only JC Penney got back to them. They said it uses a “promotional pricing model employed often in the retail industry.”