Over the past few weeks, we’ve posted about a few cases involving pricing claims, including a post discussing a lawsuit over a grocer’s BOGO offers, a post discussing a lawsuit over major retailer’s frequent sales, and a post discussing an NAD challenge over claims that a smaller retailer made about its sales. If those didn’t
Pricing and Timing
Advertising Lessons from the Survival Industry
My Patriot Supply (or “MPS”) and 4Patriots both make long-term survival food kits and related products. If a natural disaster strikes, if AI-powered bots wreak havoc on humanity, or if you just want to binge-watch your favorite shows and tune out the rest of the world, these companies have your back. But they don’t have each other’s backs.
Last year, MPS challenged various claims that 4Patriots made about its food kits at the NAD, and this year, 4Patriots filed its own challenge against MPS. Although much of what’s in NAD’s decisions may not be relevant to companies outside of this niche market, the most recent decision address at least three issues that regularly come up across a broad range of industries.
Made in USA
The MPS website included various claims that products were “Made in USA” alongside patriotic imagery. Because 4Patriots sells similar products, it knows that some of the ingredients in the MPS kits are likely to be imported. NAD summarized the requirements for “Made in USA” claims – which we’ve also summarized here – and recommended that MPS qualify its claims with a clear and conspicuous disclosure explaining that some of the ingredients in its kits are imported.…
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Lawsuit Accuses Old Navy of Creating False Sense of Urgency
Last week, two Washington consumers filed a proposed class action lawsuit accusing Old Navy of spamming them with emails that included false or misleading information about the duration of sales. For example, the complaint alleges that:
- Some emails advertised that products were on sale “today only” or “this week only.” The next day (or the
Safeway Faces Class Action Over BOGO Offers
Buy One, Get One – or “BOGO” offers – are popular with consumers and almost ubiquitous in grocery stores and other retailers across the country. Although retailers have a lot of flexibility in how to structure those offers, they need to ensure that the offers aren’t structured in a manner that overstates the amount of…
Tipping Point for State Attorneys General?
Earlier this month, we reported that the AGs (including the DC Attorney General’s Office) are paying close attention to delivery and service fees. Sure enough, the DC AG’s office filed yet another lawsuit related to delivery fees on December 7.
The District alleges that Amazon’s Flex tipping practices deceived customers from 2016-2019, stopping only…
State Attorney General Price Gouging Claims Find New Life
Last month, we discussed the broad authority that State Attorneys General have in enforcing price gouging laws – many of which remain in effect given the number of states that are still under some state of emergency. We noted the significant expansion in recent AG enforcement, and observed that at least two courts had pushed back on these efforts, dismissing cases brought by the Texas and New York Attorneys General. Just a short month later however, both cases have now been reinstated by appellate courts, again raising the prospects that AGs will continue to push the boundaries in price gouging enforcement, especially while consumers are struggling to deal with high prices due to labor shortages and inflation.
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Upcoming Price Gouging and Employee/HR Data Privacy Webinars
How To Protect Employee/HR Data and Comply with Data Privacy Laws
Wednesday, July 20
As workforces become increasingly mobile and remote work is more the norm, employers face the challenge of balancing the protection of their employees’ personal data and privacy against the need to collect and process personal data to recruit, support and monitor…
Formula Price Gouging
Recently Georgia Attorney General Carr warned consumers of potential price gouging of baby formula and related scams. He notes price gouging protections are in effect there until at least June 14, 2022 due to a state of emergency caused by supply chain disruptions. Attorney General Carr also noted problems with inflation and gas prices.
The Pink Tax: A Litigation and Legislation Update
We previously reported on an emerging legislative and litigation trend relating to the “pink tax” – a gender-based pricing phenomenon that allegedly results in higher prices for goods and services marketed towards women as compared to substantially similar alternatives marketed towards men. As predicted, the last two years have shown an uptick in litigation (which has been largely unsuccessful) and legislative action (some finalized and some pending).
Last year, we discussed an early blow to the pink tax theory of liability in Schulte v. Conopco, d/b/a Unilever, et al. In Schulte, the plaintiffs alleged that various personal care manufacturers and retailers violated the Missouri Merchandizing Practices Act (MMPA) by charging more for deodorants marketed for women than allegedly similar deodorants marketed for men. The product lines at issue contained similar, but not identical, ingredients, came in different sizes, and were available in different scents (fifteen “feminine” scents in the line marketed for women and five “masculine” scents in the line marketed for men). The Eastern District of Missouri dismissed the complaint, ruling that “Missouri law does not compel identical products to be sold at the same price” and that the plaintiff’s remedy “lies with legislation, not litigation.” The Eighth Circuit affirmed on the grounds that the plaintiff mistook “gender-based marketing for gender discrimination.” In order to state a claim, the court ruled that the plaintiff would have to allege that the only difference between the products was the price and the intended target of the marketing. Here, because the plaintiff conceded that the products were, in fact, different, thus dismissal was appropriate.
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Where to Find More Info on the FTC’s Top Rules for 2022
Last week, Jessica Rich wrote about the FTC’s rulemaking plans for 2022. Make sure you read that post for a detailed analysis of what the Commission is planning. As we looked at which of those topics have generated the most interest on Ad Law Access recently, we wanted to point you to…