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HP Website Computer Equipment False Reference Pricing Class Action

Sometimes companies advertise fake “sales” of their merchandise, displaying a false “original” price and a much lower “sale” price, when the merchandise was hardly ever, or never, sold at the “original” price. The complaint for this class action alleges that HP, Inc. engages in this kind of false reference pricing at its website, HP.com.

A class and a subclass have been defined for this action:

  • The Nationwide Class is all individuals and entities who, on or after October 13, 2017 bought one or more HP products from HP’s website that were advertised as being discounted from a reference price.
  • The Consumer Subclass is all members of the above class who are “consumers” within the meaning of California Civil Code § 1761(d) and who made their purchases on or after October 13, 2017.

The complaint alleges that the reference prices given at HP’s website are not the actual prices at which HP regularly sells its products; it alleges that the savings represented are also false because they do not represent the actual savings of customers buying the merchandise now. The complaint alleges that this use of false reference prices “artificially increases demand for HP products and induces customers to pay more for them based on a false impression of their value.” It calls the practice “pervasive throughout [HP’s] website.”

Both California state law and federal law prohibit false reference pricing. The complaint also quotes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guide Against Deceptive Pricing as saying, “[When] the former price being advertised is not bona fide but fictitious—for example, when an artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction—the ‘bargain’ being advertised is a false one; the purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects.”

A few of HP’s alleged violations of these laws are offered in the complaint. For example, on September 7, 2021, plaintiff Rodney Carvalho bought an All-in-One desktop computer from HP’s website. HP promised that customers would “Save $100 instantly” off the supposed regular price of $999, for a reduced price of $899. But the complaint shows the pricing found for each month between April 2021and September 2021 as being $899.

Another of HP’s tactics, the complaint alleges, is limited-quantity and limited-time offers. For example, it says, the Weekly Deal on the HP website on May 28, 2021 showed Carvalho’s computer with a warning that there was “Only 1 Left!” But the complaint alleges that in the following weeks and months, HP continued to sell the computer without any warnings of limited quantities.

On September 28, 2021, it advertised Carvalho’s computer as being part of a “72 Hour Flash Sale” with a countdown timer. But the complaint says the “sale” did not end when the countdown time had elapsed; the flash sale markings were removed, but in either case, the price was $899.

After that, the flash sale advertising was replaced by an “HP Days” sale. The price continued to be $899.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

HP Website Computer Equipment False Reference Pricing Complaint

Sometimes companies advertise fake “sales” of their merchandise, displaying a false “original” price and a much lower “sale” price, when the merchandise was hardly ever, or never, sold at the “original” price. The complaint for this class action alleges that HP, Inc. engages in this kind of false reference pricing at its website, HP.com.

HP Website Computer Equipment False Reference Pricing Complaint

Case Event History

HP Website Computer Equipment False Reference Pricing Complaint

Sometimes companies advertise fake “sales” of their merchandise, displaying a false “original” price and a much lower “sale” price, when the merchandise was hardly ever, or never, sold at the “original” price. The complaint for this class action alleges that HP, Inc. engages in this kind of false reference pricing at its website, HP.com.

HP Website Computer Equipment False Reference Pricing Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Discount Offers, False Reference Pricing