Class Action Suit Against Hollister For Canceling Promo Gift Cards Goes Forward

While class action lawsuits can be a useful method of consumer justice, they are not a swift one. Take a class action against the clothing store Hollister, which is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch: a customer accuses the store of making promotional gift cards expire even though there was no expiration date printed on the cards. It was just certified as a class action last month, and the promotion in question happened in 2009.

Here’s how the promotion worked: customers who spent $75 or more received a $25 gift card. This card had no expiration date printed on it, but Hollister voided all of the cards issued for this promotion on January 30, 2010. How did they notify consumers? Well, they e-mailed people whose e-mail addresses were on file, and the company claims that they put the expiration date on signs in stores, and that they e-mailed customers whose e-mail addresses were on file.

That’s no excuse, the judges of an appeals court in New Jersey have declared. The man seeking to turn this case into a class action brought his then-expired gift card to a Hollister store in 2011. Hollister admits that there were $3 million in outstanding gift card balances canceled, or as many as 120,000 individual shoppers who took advantage of this deal and lost 25 bucks. “Had defendant obtained the identities of consumers when giving out $25 gift cards, the problems it now offers as grounds for upending certification would not exist,” wrote one of the judges.

Hollister Gift Card Class Action Advances in NJ [Courthouse News]