BOSTON — The Massachusetts attorney general has accused Kohl’s Department Stores of violating the state’s sale advertising and pricing regulations.
The move followed a Boston Globe article Oct. 1 finding that certain sale items at the chain’s Medford, Mass., store were never or rarely sold at the regular price and that discounts were exaggerated "because they were based on comparisons to largely fictitious regular prices." Kohl’s entered the Boston market in April with 13 stores and opened two more in October.
In a letter to Kohl’s, Diane L. Lawton, managing attorney for the consumer protection and antitrust division, wrote: "Kohl’s appears to offer some items on ‘sale’ at most or even virtually all times, which means that these items never have a ‘regular’ price to which Kohl’s can compare." She also wrote that Kohl’s hasn’t been operating in the state long enough to show real comparisons. The letter questions if Kohl’s sale prices "may actually be not a former price charged by Kohl’s but instead a manufacturer’s ‘list price.’" Issues over how long products must be offered at a nonsale price before going on sale were also raised.
The letter asks Kohl’s to take "affirmative steps to modify its Massachusetts advertising and pricing policies."