The Law Office of James R. Snell Jr. 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.

trivia

Holiday Roast

What’s the name of the lawyer who defends Kris Kringle in the holiday classic

Prime Rib

INGREDIENTS

“Miracle on 34th Street”?

1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Send your answers to Caitlyn (caitlyn@snelllaw.com).

8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1. The first correct answer wins a $15 gift card to Starbucks.

2 cups red wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 cups beef stock

2. All other submissions are entered in a drawing to win a second $15 gift card to Starbucks.

INSTRUCTIONS

3. The funniest wrong answer will be chosen by Caitlyn and will also win a $15 gift card to Starbucks.

Inspired by Food Network 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus. 1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare.

All entries must be sent to Caitlyn by Friday, Dec. 21,

and the winners will be announced in our next edition.

Last month’s winner: Kevin Leaphart

www.SnellLaw.com | www.SnellInjuryLaw.com | F: 800-567-6249 | P: 803-753-1476 3

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