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Shutterfly False “Original” Prices, Fake Discounts Class Action

When is a bargain not a bargain? The complaint for this class action alleges that Shutterfly, LLC advertises false “original” reference prices or phantom discounts on some of the customizable merchandise it sells on its e-commerce sites.

The class for this action is all persons in the US who, between April 1, 2018 and April 1, 2022, bought one or more products from Shutterfly’s e-commerce website at discounts from an advertised reference price and who have not received a refund or credit for the purchase.

The first numbered paragraph of the complaint quotes the Ninth Circuit as finding, in an earlier case, that sellers are “well aware of consumers’ susceptibility to a bargain, [and] therefore have an incentive to lie to their customers.”

When a company invents a false “original” price for an item, then sets the current price for the item at a much lower point, it is engaging in false reference pricing. The complaint alleges, “The resulting artificial price disparity misleads consumers into believing the product they are buying has a higher market value, and it induces them into purchasing the product.” The product seems more valuable, the complaint claims, because the customer believes that other have paid a higher price for it.

Shutterfly sells various kinds of customizable items on its websites, including coffee mugs, puzzles, greeting cards, invitations, photo books, and home décor.

The complaint alleges that the products are advertised “alongside a reference price and the corresponding sale price. The reference price is crossed out and [a] substantial discount is offered on the sale price. …. However, the products sold on [Shutterfly’s] e-commerce website are never sold at the price displayed with a strikethrough…” The complaint alleges that the reference prices are therefore false.

According to the complaint, Shutterfly’s “perpetual listings of its products as discounted on its e-commerce website constitute false, fraudulent, and deceptive advertising because the advertised reference prices it displays list substantially higher prices than those ever offered by [Shutterfly]. The reference prices only serve to deceive consumers[.]”

False reference pricing violates both federal and state laws. California laws are particularly detailed on the subject, the complaint alleges: “Under California law, a seller may only discount an item from its own original price for up to 90 days; or in the alternative, a seller may offer a discount from the original price of an item being offered by a competitor, within the relevant market, for up to 90 days.”

One the 91st day, the complaint claims, the seller must either (1) return to selling the item at its original price, or (2) continue selling it at the discounted price with a disclosure to the consumer of the date the item was last offered at its purported original price.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Shutterfly False “Original” Prices, Fake Discounts Complaint

April 1, 2022

When is a bargain not a bargain? The complaint for this class action alleges that Shutterfly, LLC advertises false “original” reference prices or phantom discounts on some of the customizable merchandise it sells on its e-commerce sites.

Shutterfly False “Original” Prices, Fake Discounts Complaint

Case Event History

Shutterfly False “Original” Prices, Fake Discounts Complaint

April 1, 2022

When is a bargain not a bargain? The complaint for this class action alleges that Shutterfly, LLC advertises false “original” reference prices or phantom discounts on some of the customizable merchandise it sells on its e-commerce sites.

Shutterfly False “Original” Prices, Fake Discounts Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Discount Offers, Deceptive Labels, False Reference Pricing