Staples Rewards Program Shorts Customers on Points, Suit Alleges
A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Staples Inc. alleging that the company’s reward program cheats consumers out of points. A Staples customers identified the alleged problem, claiming that Staples spreads out the discounts for coupons across a customer’s total collected points in a purchase instead of applying them against the item for which the coupon is intended. Ultimately, the suit alleges, this means that the customer receives fewer reward points.
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The points can be used as credit when purchasing an item from Staples, either in-store or online. The complaint states, “By employing this deceptive method of calculating rewards points, Staples shorted its members’ account credit which could have been used towards the purchase of most merchandise in Staples’ stores, online at staples.com, or by phone,”
The first plaintiff in the class action is a Staples customers who used his reward points coupon for a package of bottled water. According to the complaint, the coupon reduced the cost of the water by $1.50. As such, the water was a non-qualifying purchase for the rewards points program. The plaintiff says when he looked at his rewards points, he noticed that the value of the coupon has been applied to the whole transaction, reducing the number of points he could collect for qualifying items not affected by the coupon. The plaintiff says he should have received $7.98 in points, but was given $7.02.
The suit alleges that Staples fails to give points the way it is advertises, cheating customers.
Consumer Fraud Lawsuits
Consumers have certain rights that offer protection from unfair and illegal business practices. Defrauding customers can occur in a variety of ways, including false advertising, bait and switch marketing, phony disclosure and charging for services never provided. Engaging in deceptive business practices affects both consumers, who essentially do not get what they paid for, as well as other businesses. If businesses are fraudulent, they are placing themselves at an unfair advantage over businesses that act ethically. Consumer fraud lawsuits can help recover damages for consumers, and enforce that unfair business practices have consequences.
Consumer fraud lawsuits may be filed over a broad range of scenarios. Last year, the California Supreme Court upheld a consumer fraud lawsuit against Herb Thyme Farms, Inc. alleging that the company purposely labeled foods as “organic”, when they were, in fact, grown conventionally.
Fraud also involves situations where a product is different from what is advertised. In 2015, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman ordered GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart to stop selling fraudulent herbal supplements. Schneiderman took action after testing showed that herbal supplements did not contain the ingredient listed, or failed to list potential allergens.
The retailers received letters reprimanding the sale of these products, stating “Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers,”
According to the New York Times, genetic fingerprinting was performed for 24 products claiming to have the ingredients echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, and valerian root. Except for five products, all contained DNA from a plant different from what was claimed or unrecognizable DNA. Wheat was identified in five products and beans in two, but these ingredients were not listed on the label. Since wheat and beans can cause an allergic reaction in some people, this presents a health risk.
A recent proposed class action lawsuit was filed over a homeopathic flu remedy sold by CVS. Plaintiffs allege that the product, which claims to have Anas Barbariae as an active ingredient, is essentially a sugar pill. CVS Flu Relief is marketed for flu-like symptoms, including fever, aches, pains and chills. Plaintiffs claim that Anas Barbariae, an ingredient containing a combination of duck hearts and liver, is diluted so much that it is barely present. The suit alleges that one percent of the Anas Barbariae is mixed with 99 percent distilled water, and then one percent of that mixture is combined with 99 percent distilled water. The process is allegedly repeated 200 times.
“Based upon basic principles of chemistry, the possibility of there being even one molecule of the original Anas Barbariae in one of the Defendant’s product, let alone all of the doses it has sold and will sell during the class period, is a number beyond the known physical realm,” the suit states.
Filing a Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit, contact Parker Waichman today. Our experienced attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).