Frye Law - December 2018

A MASSIVE BLACK FRIDAY LAWSUIT FAKE DISCOUNTS AND ANGRY SHOPPERS

Shoppers flock to retailers every Black Friday in hopes of securing the best deals on the year’s hottest products. There are many nasty aspects of Black Friday — the long lines, the overzealous shoppers, the limited stock of items — but phony pricing and fake sales shouldn’t be among them. But that’s exactly what happened to folks in Los Angeles during the 2016 holiday season, leading to the biggest Black Friday lawsuit in history. In December of 2016, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, and Kohl’s for a practice called “false reference pricing,” a nefarious tactic whereby retailers lie about the original price of an item to make a discount appear bigger than it actually is. For example, Sears sold a Kenmore washing machine at a “sale price” of $999.99, compared to a “regular price” of $1,179.99. The problem was the so-called sale price was actually the price that product was offered at every day. Therefore, it wasn’t actually on sale. Duping your customers is a bad business practice, but what makes it illegal? Well, California law requires that retailers post a retail price no higher than what the product was sold at within three months prior to the ad. “Families today … are striving to get the very most they can get from an extremely hard-earned holiday shopping dollar,” said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. “They deserve to make an informed decision.” After the suit was brought against them, the retailers all quickly moved to settle, promising to never engage in false reference pricing again.

Most retailers offer discounts around the holidays to encourage shoppers to come into their stores or visit their websites. Promotions and sales are great tools in any business’s arsenal, provided they aren’t out to mislead customers. Big-box stores may try to manipulate innocent people, and it’s up to aggrieved customers to hold those corporations accountable. Nearly every year, you’ll read about a class-action lawsuit that develops in response to the shady tactics of businesses eager to secure those holiday shopping dollars. Are there great bargains to be had on Black Friday? Of course. But if something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let retailers trick you into a purchase you wouldn’t make otherwise.

NEED A HAND PREPARING YOUR TAXES THIS YEAR?

HOW ANGELA PETTY CAN HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOALS

This time of year — perhaps more than any other — people are focused on their finances. Between buying the perfect gift for your friends and family members, turning up the heat to combat the colder temperatures, and preparing for the upcoming tax season, the end of the year often causes you to dip into your pocket a little more often than usual. It is for this reason that I want to introduce Angela Petty, my great friend and amazing CPA. Angela has worked in accounting for over 17 years, and her love for her job is twofold. She enjoys helping people save money on their taxes so they can reach their business or personal goals, and she also just really loves math! With all the changes going into effect this year, Angela wants to help spread some financial knowledge to help the great people of Georgia save a few extra dollars. INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS If you are in sales and travel for work, then the company you work for might reimburse a percentage of the money you spend while on the road or give you a monthly stipend. In previous years, you could deduct the remainder of that stipend. With the upcoming changes, that type of deduction is no longer available. My

recommendation for these salespeople is that they go to the human resources department at their company and request their mileage allowance be increased. This way, they don’t have to spend their own money without being properly reimbursed. INFORMATION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES If you own an LLC or S corporation, you have the potential for a 20 percent deduction on your annual net worth. This is truly fabulous news for small-business owners. However, this deduction is subject to some limitations. Be sure to reach out to Angela to determine if you can qualify. In addition to these changes, there are several others you need to be aware of before starting your taxes in the upcoming months. I strongly recommend giving Angela a call at 678-235-8962 or go to AngelaPettyCPA.com. She will take the time to thoughtfully answer all your questions and work her hardest to save you money!

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