Hobby Lobby is under fire in a class action lawsuit alleging the retailer falsely advertises “never-ending” sales. Hobby Lobby operates over seven hundred retail stores nationwide, primarily selling arts, crafts, fabrics, frames, small pieces of furniture and other similar merchandise.
Plaintiff Steven Marcrum of Baldwin County, Alabama says he suffered “ascertainable” monetary losses as a result of Hobby Lobby’s deceptive advertising scheme. Specifically, Marcrum alleges that Hobby Lobby violatef Florida common law and consumer protection laws which prohibit deceptive advertising and trade practices, by advertising discounts that were not actually provided to its customers.
According to the Hobby Lobby class action lawsuit, the retailer misleads its customers regarding the prices on much of its merchandise, as they relate to how coupon discounts are calculated. Hobby Lobby says it takes coupon discounts off of “Regular” prices, but instead it takes them off a price it never sells merchandise at. These prices are artificially inflated prices that are fictions created by Hobby Lobby.
“Hobby Lobby offers percentage discount coupons and takes these percentage discount coupons from its artificially inflated rather than its everyday ‘Regular’ prices. Hobby Lobby systemically refuses to give the advertised percentage discount coupon from the price at which the merchandise ‘Always’ sells, the 15-page complaint states.
In Marcrum’s case, he shares that he was a victim of Hobby Lobby’s deceptive advertising when shopping at a Pensacola, Florida store for a small table. Marcrum brought a coupon with him that stated he would get 40% off of “one item at regular price only.” When he selected the table he wanted to purchase, it was marked as “Always 30% off,” at a price of $83.99. Because the item was marked as “Always” 30% off,” Marcrum thought that he would get 40% off of that price, for a final price of $50.39
However, he did not receive a price of $50.39 at the register when he went to check out. Instead, the 40% discount was taken off of a price of $119.99, making the price paid $71.99 – a difference of $21.60. Simply put, the “Regular” price is the price at which an item is “regularly” sold. In this case, $83.99, not an artificial price that does not correspond to any sale of the item made by Hobby Lobby. The $119.99 is a price made up by Hobby Lobby, and only used to calculate 40% off discounts. No customer ever pays $119.99 for the piece of furniture Marcrum purchased.
“Hobby Lobby’s unlawful conduct is for the purpose of attracting customers to its stores with the promise of discounts that do not ever exist and to purchase items at false discounts. More specifically, Hobby Lobby’s conduct is designed to encourage customers to buy items “Always” on sale with a 40% off coupon thinking they are getting a great bargain by getting 40% off of that “Always” or “regular” price,” the Hobby Lobby class action lawsuit asserts.
Marcrum brings this proposed national class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons “within the applicable statute of limitations period” who purchased goods with a coupon at a Hobby Lobby in the United States, that were marked as “Always” on sale, but in any case where a price higher than the “Always” price was never charged for the goods, and the coupon discount was taken off of that higher price. Marcrum is also seeking to certify a Florida subclass.
Marcrum and the proposed classes are represented by Joshua R. Gale and Brian M. Clark of Wiggins Childs Pantazis Fisher & Goldfarb LLC; Allan L. Armstrong of Armstrong Law Center LLP; and Darrell Cartwright of Cartwright Law Center LLC.
The Hobby Lobby Class Action Lawsuit is Marcrum v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-01388-RV-CJK, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacole Division.