Overstock.com Being Sued For Misleading Pricing

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.”

Overstock.com stated:

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.

Comments welcome.

Source – SJ Mercury News

Is Pahrump, Nevada Really ‘The Laughing Stock Of The Known Universe?’

It seems that in Nye County, Nevada, which is where the town of Pahrump is located, the Sheriff and District Attorney are at odds. Allegations between the two have escalated to the point that the Sheriff has had the the District Attorney arrested for misusing public funds. The District Attorney allegedly spent public funds to support a local cheerleading squad, led by the D.A.’s wife. According to one article it also stated that:

Mr. De Meo, the sheriff, and Mr. Beckett, the D.A., haven’t gotten along in years. Mr. De Meo complains that his department arrests people who never get prosecuted. Mr. Beckett contends that some of the sheriff’s cases aren’t solid.

“I’ve often said they need a mother to stop the fighting,” said Mr. Beckett’s wife, JoDee Beckett. “It’s like two little boys.”

The public row has already derailed much of the county’s criminal-justice system. The cases against Mr. Beckett and Mr. Boruchowitz got bogged down because nearly all of the other local legal figures had some connection to the two suspects. The district court’s two sitting county judges both recused themselves, as did a justice of the peace. The state attorney general couldn’t get involved because one of its lawyers is running for district attorney.

On June 20, the Nevada Supreme Court shipped a judge from a town several hundred miles away to appoint a special prosecutor to review the cases against Mr. Beckett and Mr. Boruchowitz.

Isn’t it about time for the public to get involved and recall these two bozo’s? I liked the statement:

“I’ve often said they need a mother to stop the fighting,” said Mr. Beckett’s wife, JoDee Beckett. “It’s like two little boys.”

It does sound like the children do need a time out. LOL

Comments welcome.

Source – WJS

Bloggers And The Law

In New York subpoenas were issued to help identify bloggers who were blogging about New York politics.  Known as Room 8 the involved bloggers needed to get a lawyer to defend themselves, until the district attorney dropped the investigation. According to the New York Times story:

The demand for secrecy raised the unnerving prospect that prosecutors could quietly investigate anyone who posts comments online, while the person making those comments is unaware of and unable to respond to the risk. The tactic also robs bloggers of one of their most powerful weapons: the chance to spread the word and turn the legal attack into an online cause célèbre.

Lawsuits over information posted online are usually civil, not criminal — that is, they are filed by private citizens or companies trying to keep something off the Web. Courts have developed ways to evaluate the claims, often using tests to balance the First Amendment’s protections of speech against the harm caused by whatever someone wrote or said.

Using such an analysis earlier this year, a federal judge in San Francisco reversed an order disabling a Web site that allowed the anonymous posting of documents, after he weighed concerns about the order’s effect on free speech.

Bloggers concerned about possible litigation may want to check the privacy policies of their Internet service providers, to see whether they include a pledge to notify any customer whose site is the subject of a subpoena, Mr. Zittrain said.

One can only guess why the investigation took place, since the district attorney is remaining silent about the investigation. Which leaves one to guess that something that transpired in Room 8 stirred up a political  debate which may have prompted the investigation. Posting of comments by being anonymous I feel is a right which should be protected.

What do you think? Should our rights of freedom of speech be protected?

Comments welcome.