John Sours, Georgia’s Administrator of The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), announced last month that his agency has entered into a settlement with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. to resolve claims of deceptive advertising. The agency alleges that Dick’s compared merchandise “sale” prices to “original” or “list” prices that were inflated to give consumers the impression that they were receiving larger discounts than they actually were. Mr. Sours had this to say:
This type of advertising is unfair to consumers and to legitimate businesses alike. Advertised sale price comparisons should be based on prices that merchandise was actually sold for.
Dick’s has signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with OCP requiring it to pay a total of $350,000 in cy pres restitution apportioned as follows:
• approximately $121,000 worth of sporting equipment to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, to be divided among the Wildlife Resources, Parks, and Law Enforcement divisions;
• $100,000 in cash to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to be used in connection with athletic programs; and
• the remainder, approximately $129,000 in cash to the Georgia State Games Commission.
The company must also pay a $100,000 civil penalty and $50,000 in administrative expenses. In addition, Dick’s agrees to refrain from using false or misleading price savings or comparisons in its future advertisements.
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