A California federal court denied yesterday Hobby Lobby's motion to dismiss a consumer class action over the retailer's allegedly deceptive pricing. The lawsuit claimed that Hobby Lobby advertised fictitious prices and phantom discounts by referencing fake “marked” prices that were then discounted. The trick was that the merchandise was allegedly never actually offered for sale, nor sold, at the represented “marked” price.
The court was not persuaded by Hobby Lobby's defense that clarifying language about the price reduction was listed in its disclaimer. The judge instead found that a consumer "having to read a placard in a store aisle amidst a sea of photo frames” could not be expected to look that hard.
This is not the first time Hobby Lobby has been in hot water over its allegedly deceptive pricing. A 2016 deceptive coupon class action lawsuit was filed against Hobby Lobby in a federal court in Alabama allegedly that Hobby Lobby never actually sold goods at their stated "regular prices." Additionally, the Attorney General of both New York and Virginia have recently settled cases with Hobby Lobby over their deceptive pricing issues.
The case is Chase v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. et al., case number 3:17-cv-00881, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.