Reader Colin writes us to share an email he sent to Target about their practice of marking items as “Sale”… with no actual discount. Colin writes to Target:
I’m currently in the process of shopping for a Nintendo DS, and have been keeping out for any kind of deals on the item before I buy it. Today I was in the Turnersville Target, and I noticed a big red SALE tag on the DSes. However, the price was still the usual $129.99. I asked the clerk at the electronics counter and he told me “Yeah, that just means it’s at the price in the flyer.” Quite frankly, the only word I can think of for marking an item with a SALE tag when it is not, in fact, at a sale price, is deceptive.
We thought this might have been an isolated incident in New Jersey, so we went to our local Brooklyn Target and sure enough, the Nintendo DS Lite is marked “Sale” even though there is no discount.
The Target flyer is clear about the fact that the DS is not on sale. Why is it marked “Sale” in the store? Just because it is pictured in the flyer?
The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs says there are laws against offering items for “Sale” at more than the MSRP without clearly marking the tag, but make no mention of marking things “Sale” in store when they’re not discounted from the MSRP. However, the New York City Consumer Protection Law “prohibits DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES, meaning any claim or action having the potential to deceive consumers.” This may well fall under that law.
Regardless of the legality, it’s certainly not a consumer friendly practice. Not cool, Target. —MEGHANN MARCO