Has your business been impacted by supply chain disruptions? Have you responded by imposing additional charges? A recent case involving the paint giant, Sherwin-Williams, makes clear what NOT to do!
Last year, Sherwin-Williams began imposing a 4% surcharge on all consumer purchases in response to COVID-related supply chain costs. Class action plaintiffs in New York now allege they suffered economic injury as a result of a “deceptive bait-and-switch scheme”.
Specifically, customer plaintiffs allege:
❌ Sherwin-Williams’ surcharges were added “covertly” because they weren’t included in listed product prices but were nonetheless tacked on at the register;
❌ no signs or disclosures told them about the 4% surcharge while they were shopping;
❌ they were “often entirely unaware of the surcharge until after paying and checking out”; and
❌ if they’d known about the surcharge, they wouldn’t have bought their paint from Sherwin-Williams.
The TAKE HOME:
📌 Avoid adding “late in process” fees. Price adjustments should be consumer-friendly; customers should know about price adjustments while shopping and not afterwards.
📌 This can be as easy as building adjustments into a retail price that is clearly and conspicuously displayed in-store.
📌 Providing additional pricing or fee information in a transparent way, early in a transaction, can help retailers avoid investigations or lawsuits.
💡Need help making sure your business’ practices comply with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
This blog gives general information about marketing law trends and updates. Nothing on this site is meant as legal advice. Each situation differs on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts presented. Providing this information doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship and readers should not act upon this information without seeking legal counsel.
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