Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP filed a class-action lawsuit in the Northern District of Ohio (Case #1:13cv-01175-LW). The suit alleges that Jos. A. Bank, a men’s clothing supplier, engaged in unlawful and deceptive advertising. Supposedly, the retailer falsely promised free merchandise with the purchase of other clothes.
Court documents name John Schneider, Andrew Bucher, and Robert Smith as the plaintiffs. The men brought the lawsuit against the retailer on behalf of a number of upset customers. The men claimed that the company drastically inflated the prices of “regular” merchandise to offset the cost of the “free” materials. Under Ohio laws, it is illegal to do such a thing.
The central complaint of the suit revolves around Jos. A. Bank allegedly increased their “regular prices” to falsely give consumers the impression that they received a bargain.
Ohio revised code 109:4-3-04 specifically states,
It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to use the word "free" or other words of similar import or meaning, except in conformity with this rule. It is the express intent of this rule to prohibit 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. In the absence of such a base price a "free" offer is in reality a single price for the combination of goods or services offered, and the fiction that any portion of the offer is "free" is inherently deceptive.
Upon the New York State Attorney General’s investigation, he found that less than 1% of the suits, dress pants, formal wear, and sport coats at Jos. A. Bank was the actual advertised price. Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP is representing the plaintiffs. The suit seeks to prevent the major retailer from committing more alleged false advertising.