According to the San Jose Mercury News, 7 district attorneys in Northern California are suing Overstock.com for misleading advertising. The news article states that Overstock.com has been advertising itself as a low price leader, when in fact the prices they quote as retail may have been over inflated. In the court filing it stated that:
“Beginning no later than January 1, 2006, Overstock routinely and systematically made untrue and misleading comparative advertising claims about the prices of its products,” the civil complaint states. “Overstock used various misleading measures to inflate the comparative prices, and thus artificially increase the discounts it claimed to be offering consumers.”
One example cited in the complaint: Overstock advertised a patio set on its website for $449. Overstock said the next best price for the patio set was $999.99, but when the furniture was delivered, it had a Walmart price sticker on it showing it was selling for $247.
“Overstock’s misrepresentations about its pricing were likely to mislead consumers into believing that Overstock’s prices would always be significantly lower than the prices offered by other merchants for the identical products,” the complaint states.
“Such misrepresentations were likely to discourage consumers from making the effort to search elsewhere for lower prices.”
Mark Griffin, vice president and general counsel for Salt Lake City-based Overstock, denied the allegations in the complaint and said the district attorneys failed to understand how Overstock advertised its prices.
“No one is perfect. We do deny the allegations and we deny the interpretations,” Griffin said. “We do not deserve this, especially the timing of it.”Griffin said the patio set example cited in the complaint was an isolated incident and said that the company follows “standard advertising practices” informing its customers how it generates comparison prices to its products. He said the civil complaint was filed after negotiations between the company and the district attorneys failed to end in an agreement.
“We tell our customers what it means,” he said. “These (district attorneys) have taken the position that they don’t think our customers understand.”
The civil complaint was filed by district attorneys in Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Shasta and Sonoma counties.
My wife is an avid shopper at Overstock.com and swears by the deals she has gotten. As an example, she was looking for a comforter set for our bed in our guest bedroom. She found an extremely attractive bed spread/comforter, bed skirt and two shams for only $30. She told me the cheapest set she could locate, even at the low price retailers was over $100 for a similar set. She also bought a 100% wool carpet for our entry hall for $80 from Overstock.com. She said similar carpets were priced at about $200 or more.
My wife is a very good shopper. She price shops and always finds the best bargains available. I call her my cheap shopping queen. LOL
What has been your experience shopping at Overstock.com? Share your thoughts.