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(LA Times)   Kohls: Come and discover our advertised items on sale. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Would you like to rephrase that?   (latimes.com) divider line 61
    More: Fail, Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S., United States courts of appeals, Kohl, Samsonite, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, polo shirts, California Supreme Court  
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5978 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 May 2013 at 10:30 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-23 09:41:01 AM  
I just bought some shirts at Kohl's the other day and almost everything in the store has a permanent sign that shows "old price/new price 50% off" or somesuch thing. I am pretty sure they have never sold any of it at the old price. Didn't know I could sue over it, though.
 
2013-05-23 09:51:20 AM  
Yea, that's Kohl's whole gimmick: Advertise the price as a sale price. Take a $20 shirt, advertise that it's originally $40. Then sell it for 50% off.

I recall my ex's grandmother always hindering our day plans. "Can you forego your plans and take me to Kohls? There's a huge sale at Kohls, and it's only today."

"Gma, there's ALWAYS a sale at Kohls."


I like Kohls. I think they have decent attire. But I hate how they misrepresent original pricing.
Other businesses do it too. I just got a flyer offering "$1000 off" a finished basement. Well, if you don't see the price with the original advertisement (or a history of prices), how do you know they just aren't marking it up in the advertising, and knocking it back down just to create the illusion of a sale?
 
2013-05-23 10:42:27 AM  
So customers can't be required to decide for themselves what a product is worth? Why not check online to see how the prices compare elsewhere and decide based on  that whether to buy it?

It would be a different story if the company lied about the price you'd actually be paying, not just the price it "used" to be.

Fools and money, etc.
 
2013-05-23 10:43:08 AM  

Bonkthat_Again: Yea, that's Kohl's whole gimmick: Advertise the price as a sale price. Take a $20 shirt, advertise that it's originally $40. Then sell it for 50% off.

I recall my ex's grandmother always hindering our day plans. "Can you forego your plans and take me to Kohls? There's a huge sale at Kohls, and it's only today."

"Gma, there's ALWAYS a sale at Kohls."


I like Kohls. I think they have decent attire. But I hate how they misrepresent original pricing.
Other businesses do it too. I just got a flyer offering "$1000 off" a finished basement. Well, if you don't see the price with the original advertisement (or a history of prices), how do you know they just aren't marking it up in the advertising, and knocking it back down just to create the illusion of a sale?


We've done a LOT of house work - I'd only consider a coupon on a bid if (and only if) you presented the coupon AFTER they've made their bid and they accepted the reduced amount.  Giving them the coupon ahead of time or even the indication that you are aware of it just tells them how much to adjust their bid upward.

Only had one person get nasty when presented a coupon - which was really confusing - you knew you had coupons in circulation, if you cant do the job for x-y% then don't freaking bid it that tight.
 
2013-05-23 10:43:47 AM  

Bonkthat_Again: Yea, that's Kohl every retailer ever's whole gimmick


Ahem.
 
2013-05-23 10:51:02 AM  
Wait, you're telling me I didn't get $250 worth of clothes for $75?
 
2013-05-23 10:59:32 AM  
Can they apply this to every single Persian rug dealer?  You know, the ones that are perpetually going out of business?
 
2013-05-23 11:06:27 AM  
We shop at Kohl's because they have a better selection than places like Target, but aren't quite as expensive as the big department stores. But I've never been fooled by their pricing scheme. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but one that I'm willing to put up with because overall it's a decent place to shop - just not as big a bargain as they make it seem.
 
2013-05-23 11:08:37 AM  
This reminds me that it will soon be fireworks season. Years ago, the billboards used to scream out in fluorescent letters "2 for the price of 1 on everything!" Now it's like 7 for 1 or even 10 for 1. Which is really silly because they can only sell them for the 2 weeks before the Fourth, so when could they possibly have sold them at the "regular" price?
 
2013-05-23 11:10:33 AM  
I wonder how this might affect WalMart or Dollar Tree, both "advertise" items that are never actually marked down.
 
2013-05-23 11:10:57 AM  
What kind of moron to you have to be to not understand that they mark off the original MSRP list price or whatever?  I guess the kind of moron that buys stuff just because it is a good deal and because you need it.
 
2013-05-23 11:14:05 AM  
In overturning that decision, the 9th Circuit relied on a previous California Supreme Court ruling that said consumers lose money if they buy a product only because it was falsely advertised as made in the U.S.

I know better than to rely on a journalist's interpretation of a court ruling, and I'm too lazy to look up the authority myself, but if this is truly the basis of the appeals court's decision, it's just bad logical reasoning. There is clearly a distinction between a person buying something in reliance upon a representation that it was made in the USA when it was not, and a person buying something in reliance upon a representation that at some undefined point in the past, the store charged a certain price for it (even if the store never did).

In the former circumstance, the place where the item was made is an intrinsic characteristic of the product -- it is necessarily different from a product made somewhere else. (Those differences may be trivial or insignificant, but they are nevertheless differences.) In the latter case, the price at which a product was previously listed is not intrinsic to the product -- one cannot look at two otherwise identical shirts, one which was previously offered at a higher price and one which was not, and assert that there is any discernable difference between them.
 
2013-05-23 11:16:05 AM  

rdu_voyager: We shop at Kohl's because they have a better selection than places like Target, but aren't quite as expensive as the big department stores. But I've never been fooled by their pricing scheme. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but one that I'm willing to put up with because overall it's a decent place to shop - just not as big a bargain as they make it seem.


Especially baby and toddler clothing. Carter's stuff is the same price everywhere: but why is Kohls the only place where the "regular" price is higher?
 
2013-05-23 11:20:26 AM  

mjohnson71: rdu_voyager: We shop at Kohl's because they have a better selection than places like Target, but aren't quite as expensive as the big department stores. But I've never been fooled by their pricing scheme. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but one that I'm willing to put up with because overall it's a decent place to shop - just not as big a bargain as they make it seem.

Especially baby and toddler clothing. Carter's stuff is the same price everywhere: but why is Kohls the only place where the "regular" price is higher?


I would guess that is it because they list Carter's MSRP.  Only a few manufacturers, like Apple,  get away with having retailers actually sell at MSRP.
 
2013-05-23 11:23:14 AM  
Kohl's does take things off sale.  Usually it's something like this from what I can tell: The shirt is $20 Tuesday-Thursday, but Friday-Monday the "sale of the week as indicated by the mailer received in Tuesday's junkmail" is on and it's $10.
 
2013-05-23 11:34:30 AM  

bhcompy: Kohl's does take things off sale.  Usually it's something like this from what I can tell: The shirt is $20 Tuesday-Thursday, but Friday-Monday the "sale of the week as indicated by the mailer received in Tuesday's junkmail" is on and it's $10.


They might also be able to justify their "buy one get one ________" deals as not officially being a sale since that first one is full price.

/going to use one of their no minimum purchase 10 dollar gift cards from the mail later today
//probably for something under 20 bucks like a couple t shirts or pack of socks
 
2013-05-23 11:38:21 AM  
Camera stores in Manhattan seen wide-eyed and shaking.


/with laughter
 
2013-05-23 11:54:00 AM  
I recently had a big beef with Kohl's over basic math.

They had a "clearance sale", where all items on clearance were being marked down by an additional 25%. Now, I know what that means, and so do you: they would take the initial clearance discount (say, 60%) off the original price, then take another 25% off the remaining price ($50 - 60% = $20 - 25% = $15).

However, their signage made it quite clear: 60% off plus 25% off was 85%. No gray area, no wiggle room...bad signage everywhere (yes, I looked for items that were marked 75% off so I could just go to the register and try to get it for free).

Register lady rang it up the way I knew it SHOULD have worked, and I pointed out the sign...after both she and the manager insisted to me that I WAS getting 85% off, when I was really getting 70% off, I made it my quest to get Kohl's to admit that either a) their signage was wrong, or b) they don't understand math.

It finally took somebody titled as the "Director of Customer Relations" to finally tell me that the signage was wrong. Up to that moment, it was every single person at Kohl's telling me that I didn't understand math.

So, I don't shop there anymore. They can all eat santorum.
 
2013-05-23 12:08:39 PM  

show me: This reminds me that it will soon be fireworks season. Years ago, the billboards used to scream out in fluorescent letters "2 for the price of 1 on everything!" Now it's like 7 for 1 or even 10 for 1. Which is really silly because they can only sell them for the 2 weeks before the Fourth, so when could they possibly have sold them at the "regular" price?


Ever been in one of those fireworks tents?

The ones being offered for free aren't the good fireworks. Not even the roman candles. They're crappy little useless things like a snake- you buy one of the $50 mortar units, you get five or so of the little snake things worth maybe a quarter. It's never get another of the cool fireworks for free when you buy another one of them.
 
2013-05-23 12:19:25 PM  

show me: I just bought some shirts at Kohl's the other day and almost everything in the store has a permanent sign that shows "old price/new price 50% off" or somesuch thing. I am pretty sure they have never sold any of it at the old price. Didn't know I could sue over it, though.


Some places you can if they have a "Truth in Advertising" law...Kohl's can easily avoid this by putting the clothes out the day they arrive for a super high price that only a moron would purchase at that price, then reduce it down to the price point they want.  I support the lawsuit seeing how they are too lazy to do step 1.

Someplace in California (or perhaps the whole state) has truth in advertising law.  The one interesting case for it was against the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers since they played in Anaheim.  There was a push to rename the teams due to this law, but somehow they avoided it or carved out an exception.
 
2013-05-23 01:09:37 PM  

akula: show me: This reminds me that it will soon be fireworks season. Years ago, the billboards used to scream out in fluorescent letters "2 for the price of 1 on everything!" Now it's like 7 for 1 or even 10 for 1. Which is really silly because they can only sell them for the 2 weeks before the Fourth, so when could they possibly have sold them at the "regular" price?

Ever been in one of those fireworks tents?

The ones being offered for free aren't the good fireworks. Not even the roman candles. They're crappy little useless things like a snake- you buy one of the $50 mortar units, you get five or so of the little snake things worth maybe a quarter. It's never get another of the cool fireworks for free when you buy another one of them.


Yep, been in one. Actually worked in one during a summer break from college. Sleazy businesses they are.
 
2013-05-23 01:12:54 PM  

akula: show me: This reminds me that it will soon be fireworks season. Years ago, the billboards used to scream out in fluorescent letters "2 for the price of 1 on everything!" Now it's like 7 for 1 or even 10 for 1. Which is really silly because they can only sell them for the 2 weeks before the Fourth, so when could they possibly have sold them at the "regular" price?

Ever been in one of those fireworks tents?

The ones being offered for free aren't the good fireworks. Not even the roman candles. They're crappy little useless things like a snake- you buy one of the $50 mortar units, you get five or so of the little snake things worth maybe a quarter. It's never get another of the cool fireworks for free when you buy another one of them.


They usually have 2 for 1 on the multishot mortar kits where we go ... of course "one" is $75 so 2 for $75 still means you're lighting almost $40 on fire when you light that one fuse...
 
2013-05-23 02:18:41 PM  
This tells quite the story of our current consumer culture.  Kohls marks up clothes drastically to mark them down for sales, and people flock.  It becomes such an effective practice that we're having a conversation about potential lawsuits on it.  JCPenney decides to stop the whole markup/down thing, and their business nosedives because people stop shopping there.  This is a competitor base aiming at the same margin numbers, buying from suppliers in the same industry levels, with similar marketing demographics.

I'm not arguing that this is the sole reason for the climb of Kohls vs. the struggle of JCPenney (there are many mistakes there), but it's the largest part.  People lean on their limbic system WAY too much on things that should be easily rational.
 
2013-05-23 02:37:40 PM  

Hyjamon: The one interesting case for it was against the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers since they played in Anaheim.


Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

If you're referring to the Forum, that was in Inglewood, not Anaheim, and the Clippers never played there (they played occasional games in Anaheim from 94-99, but it was never their official home court).
 
2013-05-23 02:46:23 PM  

Khellendros: This tells quite the story of our current consumer culture.  Kohls marks up clothes drastically to mark them down for sales, and people flock.  It becomes such an effective practice that we're having a conversation about potential lawsuits on it.  JCPenney decides to stop the whole markup/down thing, and their business nosedives because people stop shopping there.  This is a competitor base aiming at the same margin numbers, buying from suppliers in the same industry levels, with similar marketing demographics.

I'm not arguing that this is the sole reason for the climb of Kohls vs. the struggle of JCPenney (there are many mistakes there), but it's the largest part.  People lean on their limbic system WAY too much on things that should be easily rational.


I'd say the biggest contributing factor to Kohl's success was being an early adopter of the non-indoor mall store model just before the decline of that style of shopping.
 
2013-05-23 03:20:26 PM  
12349876:

I'd say the biggest contributing factor to Kohl's success was being an early adopter of the non-indoor mall store model just before the decline of that style of shopping.

That is the precise reason I started shopping at Kohl's in the early 2000's.  I could not stand the mall, but didn't want to do all of my clothes shopping at Target or Wal Mart.  Kohl's was the only other option.
 
2013-05-23 03:20:28 PM  
Kohl's is still cheap as dirt. I got 3 button down shirts for $50 and they were fairly decent shirts.
 
2013-05-23 03:43:17 PM  
Kohl's exists so the wife can shop there and think she got a deal.  Yes, I have to pay for it all and yes I know the math of their markups.

It makes her happy and keeps her off my case.  Don't fark this up for me.
 
2013-05-23 03:48:26 PM  
Can they do this at the grocery store next ?

I like to look for whats on sale or ideas etc. More times than not the "sale" isn't a sale at all.
 
2013-05-23 03:52:08 PM  

12349876: They might also be able to justify their "buy one get one ________" deals as not officially being a sale since that first one is full price.


What definition of "sale" is in play here?
If it is defined as ONLY a special event in which prices are temporarily marked down in order to drum up business, then the case has merit.
If "sale" can mean ANYTHING else, including selling items at regular price, or selling items at higher than MSRP, if the market will bear it or permanent periods of mark-down, then this case will have difficulty.
The common vernacular usage of the word "sale" does imply a special period of reduced prices, but the courts have to look both at the common use in terms of this particular user of the term, and the intended implication of the use of the word.  The word does have meanings in commerce that include simply the act of selling, or the period during which commerce is available.  This last definition could be invoked, and if so, could nullify the lawsuit, especially since Kohl's has a long history of invoking this meaning.
I'm all for consumer protection, but the consumers have the responsibility to educate themselves.  If the manufacturer or retailer is up front about the transaction and doesn't try to hide anything, and the buyer is still willing to pay the price, then it's a caveat emptor situation.  A fool and his money, and all that...

/Why yes, I am willing to take the money of people willing to pay me for snake oil
 
2013-05-23 04:01:26 PM  
Wait, Kohl's is having a sale?
 
2013-05-23 04:22:54 PM  
Wasn't there a similar CAL against KB toys years ago on a similar topic?

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news03/kb_toys.html


Not quite a trend but in some ways the same arguments.
 
2013-05-23 04:25:12 PM  

The Singing Bush: Hyjamon: The one interesting case for it was against the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers since they played in Anaheim.

Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

If you're referring to the Forum, that was in Inglewood, not Anaheim, and the Clippers never played there (they played occasional games in Anaheim from 94-99, but it was never their official home court).


The Clippers old official home was the LA Sports Arena, down the street from the Staples Center. In fact, the Lakers used to play there, too.
 
2013-05-23 04:31:56 PM  

Usurper4: It finally took somebody titled as the "Director of Customer Relations" to finally tell me that the signage was wrong. Up to that moment, it was every single person at Kohl's telling me that I didn't understand math.


I saw that on The Consumerist.
 
2013-05-23 04:46:38 PM  
So... SunSetter should probably watch its back, too.

CSB:

I used to take SunSetter sales calls. The default offer for an awning was $200 off and a free vinyl cover. The only time someone paid full price for the awning was when they got the free accessories deal, which ended up being at least a $500 value anyway. With the sales system we were using, you could not process a sale without a discount code, and it would auto-populate with the $200 off and a free cover if there were no offers sent to that person. I can imagine this causing some legal problems for them if Kohls is having problems over their "permanent sale" method of pricing.
 
2013-05-23 04:53:03 PM  

Dr. Baird: Wait, Kohl's is having a sale?


TODAY ONLY!  extra $5 off $25, can be combined

tip for guys - only buy things off the clearance racks (70-90% off = actual deal), when its 30% off and $10 kohls cash for every $50 spent.
 
2013-05-23 05:02:44 PM  

rolladuck: What definition of "sale" is in play here?


I don't know what legal definitions are in play in this lawsuit and that's why I put "might be able to justify" in my post.
 
2013-05-23 05:16:13 PM  
I only shop at Kohl's when I get mailed a 30% off coupon (every couple months), plus they have a decent 'sale' going on, and maybe throw in a $x off $x coupon on top of it (and Kohl's cash too if they are running it). Even then, I tend to stick to the clearance racks or cheaper lines of clothing. Otherwise, I go to Ross, Goodwill, or maybe pick up a few things here and there at Target or Walmart. (Never buy socks or any other 'accessories' at Kohl's though...they are so expensive even with the coupons and other discounts).

Kohl's is one of those stores where it is pretty foolish NOT to shop there with a coupon..just like Bed Bath & Beyond, the craft store chains, etc.
\Had a friend (a couple) who purchased me a fancy Cuisinart coffee maker for me for the holidays...I almost screamed when they told me they didn't use a coupon (they are aware of my cheapskate ways, but neither have a lot of money to really spend on things like this).
 
2013-05-23 05:28:10 PM  
I don't shop at Kohls much, but when I do, I see a huge difference compared with other retailers

As in, Kohls has a HUGE selection of Mens clothes. If you go to other retailers and stores from the lower end to the bigger end:

Target: Small when you compare with women section
JCPenney: It's ok, but womens is huge compared to men
Kohls: It's almost 50/50 when it comes to actual clothes, Men and Women departments are about the same size (excluding women "delicates")
Macys: Macys is interesting, they have half a floor for Men (and two complete floors for women), and half of the men is suits and button down shirts (good collection, not complaining)
Nordstrom: Much better selection, but very very expensive. I'm not paying 45$ for a V neck Tshirt.
 
2013-05-23 05:35:47 PM  
Kohls is a good place to go if you want to find shoes made in USA.  (some New Balance lines)  That's about the only reason I shop there - that and they're close to Gander Mountain where I live.
 
2013-05-23 05:41:38 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: Kohls is a good place to go if you want to find shoes made in USA.  (some New Balance lines)  That's about the only reason I shop there - that and they're close to Gander Mountain where I live.


They don't have size 12.5 and they don't have 2E width so Kohls is a no go for me and New Balance.

/not necessarily my exact size, but I'd want to try those before deciding
 
2013-05-23 05:42:29 PM  
I shop there a lot, but one of these days I may commit misdemeanor battery on the old bitty that's arguing with me about my declination of a Kohl's credit card.
 
2013-05-23 05:45:26 PM  

Usurper4: I recently had a big beef with Kohl's over basic math.
****Insert retail drama****
So, I don't shop there anymore. They can all eat santorum.


They're probably OK with and support your decision.
 
2013-05-23 06:33:29 PM  

FrancoFile: Can they apply this to every single Persian rug dealer?  You know, the ones that are perpetually going out of business?


lol, where I used to live there was a furniture store that had "going out of business sale" painted on their windows for like 10 years.
 
2013-05-23 06:54:47 PM  
Yeah, I'm used to the gimmick too. I always roll my eyes when they try and tell me what a good deal I've gotten.

Honestly, though, the selection and prices are decent compared to everywhere else, just not what they claim it to be.
 
2013-05-23 07:32:43 PM  
Meh. I do all my clothes shopping at Goodwill and only when they have one of their "buy one at regular price and get 9 more items for 99 cents" sales.
 
2013-05-23 07:38:25 PM  
Good.  I hope they attach automobile dealerships to the lawsuit too.
 
2013-05-23 09:30:43 PM  
Former CEO of JCPenny Ron Johnson tried to do away with this fake sale foolishness stupid house fraus wanted their "sales" and stop shopping there. CEO gets the bum's rush and itback to "they're having a sale at Pennys".

Now they'll possibly legislate away the fake sales and JCPenny will again be behind the curve.
Net winner: Ron Johnson.
 
2013-05-23 09:55:44 PM  

kindms: Can they do this at the grocery store next ?

I like to look for whats on sale or ideas etc. More times than not the "sale" isn't a sale at all.


Target does this shiat. They put tags on things that say "ADVERTISED PRICE." Not sale price, mind you. Lift up the tag - it's the same damn price underneath.
 
2013-05-23 10:03:27 PM  

tenton: The Singing Bush: Hyjamon: The one interesting case for it was against the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers since they played in Anaheim.

Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

If you're referring to the Forum, that was in Inglewood, not Anaheim, and the Clippers never played there (they played occasional games in Anaheim from 94-99, but it was never their official home court).

The Clippers old official home was the LA Sports Arena, down the street from the Staples Center. In fact, the Lakers used to play there, too.


I think a more applicable situation belongs to the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who Really Want to Be Associated with L.A. But Play in Anaheim so They Have to Sneak Anaheim into Their Name" Angels.
 
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