Filed in California by lead plaintiff Kevin Park, the complaint asserts that Cole Haan falsely advertizes that items available at its outlet stores are discounted from their “original” or “regular” price, when in fact the shoes are made specially for the sale through the outlets, and never have a “regular” price.
“[T] he original price was a tactic designed to mislead consumers into believing they were receiving an item at a discounted rate,” the complaint states.
According to the proposed class action, in 2017 Park bought shoes from a Cole Haan outlet store that were advertized as being marked down by 50 percent from the price they would be sold at in a non-outlet Cole Haan retail store. However, the shoes he bought were never available for purchase at a regular retail location and had he been aware of that, he would not have purchased the shoes or paid the price he had for them.
The lawsuit claims that Cole Haan makes two sets of merchandise, one for its regular retail locations and another for its outlet locations. The items made for the general retail stores are often higher quality using better leather and stitching, Park asserts.
Park also claims that items made specifically for the outlet locations are identified by a “II” after the item’s name on the shoe box. Items identified as specifically made for the outlet locations are deceptively marketed at supposed “discount” prices. “[B]ecause of the ‘original’ or ‘regular’ price, consumers believe they are purchasing the same quality items from the retail store,” the complaint states.
The complaint further notes that Cole Haan markets itself as an exclusive brand known for high quality shoes; “[h]owever, in an effort to maximize their profits, Defendants devised a scheme where they would manufacture inferior products directly for their outlet stores but price them at retail store prices leading customers to believe they were buying retail products. Defendants then discount the items to mislead customers into believing they were receiving a significant discount – when in fact they were not because the products were never sold at the higher rate. The outlet stores essentially allowed Defendants to market products as if they were retail store products (both in price and quality) but sell them at ‘sale’ prices.”
Park seeks to represent a Class of consumers who purchased a Cole Haan Outlet product made for a Cole Haan Outlet store in California bearing an original price at any time during the past four years.
Park is represented by Alisa A. Martin of Amartin Law PC and Lindsay David and Sandra Brennan of Brennan & David Law Group.
The lawsuit is: Park v. Cole Haan LLC, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01422-LAB-BGS, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.