Sales are Great-In Moderation
One way to drive customers to your business or website, is to have a sale. When you walk in a mall, or past retail stores, it seems all you see are big “Sale!” signs, and your mailbox is probably full of flyers that are advertising sales for various retailers.
So why doesn’t your business have a sale? In fact…why don’t you just put “Sale!” up in front of your business, or on your marketing materials or online, permanently?
Well, that idea may get you in a little bit of trouble. There is, of course, no problem having a sale, and advertising it. There is no rule or regulation on how many sales that you can have. The thing to watch out for is that a sale must actually be a sale.
If you were to have a “Sale!” sign on your website every day, your items actually are not on sale. That’s their regular price. You’re just putting the word “Sale!” up to drive customers to your business. That’s false advertising and it’s illegal.
The same goes for the very common “Buy One Get One” (BOGO) sale. Let’s say an item costs $20, and you have a BOGO sale. The per-item cost for two items, is $10. That’s fine. But if you have a BOGO sale all the time, every day of the year, you aren’t really giving anything away free, or cheaper—your items are always $10 each. That’s false advertising and deceptive sales.
Retailers get in Trouble
Big retailers have gotten in trouble for manipulating sales and using sale signs improperly in advertising material.
For example, clothing retailer J Crew was sued because an item’s sale varied, being discounted 30% or 50%–but the item never was actually sold at it’s original, non-sale price. The allegations were that J Crew did what a lot of businesses, especially those who are not savvy about advertising laws, do—they put on an “actual” price, or a “comparison” price, but the item is actually never sold at that price.
Have Safe Sales
To be safe, businesses should stagger sales. Some time on, some time off, with different sale amounts, and all items should, at some point, be sold at their original prices. You can have a sale every day of the year if you want—just stagger the items or services that are being offered for sale, so that at some point each given item is being sold at its actual price.
Be careful with the language you use. Some language is just puffery and is generally harmless—saying “best sale ever” won’t get you in trouble if it’s not actually the best sale ever. But if you say “limited time,” the sale should not last a year and a half.
Just be careful, and let honesty be your guide.
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig to help your business comply with government rules and regulations. Contact us today to discuss protecting your business.