Dressbarn is under fire for allegedly violating unfair competition and false advertising laws.
In a new class action lawsuit filed by Jaimie Hernandez in U.S. District Court of Central California on April 15, Dressbarn is being accused of using false reference pricing on its website to make its sale items appear to be offered at a greater discount.
In the complaint, Hernandez seeks monetary damages, restitution, declaratory and injunctive relief from Dressbarn — as part of the class action — arising from the company’s alleged deceptive business practice of advertising fictitious “original” prices and corresponding phantom discounts on its e-commerce website, Dressbarn.com, where it sells women’s clothing and other related items.
Hernandez said she purchased four items from Dressbarn’s website on or around April 1 that allegedly used false reference pricing, according to the lawsuit. Due to the advertised reference price, Hernandez falsely believed she was getting a “significant discount” on her items, which included, among other things, a pair of Havaianas metallic rubber sandals.
Hernandez argues further that the false reference pricing led her to believe that the discounted price would “likely not last,” further inducing her to make a purchase. She added that the items listed for sale were never sold at the advertised reference price and “artificially inflated” the true market value of the items.
Hernandez said in the complaint that she “seeks to halt the dissemination of this false, misleading, and deceptive pricing scheme, to correct the false and misleading perception it has created in the minds of consumers, and to obtain redress for those who have purchased products tainted by this deceptive pricing scheme.”
This lawsuit comes three years after the retailer shut down all of its 650 stores across the United States after its parent company, Ascena Retail Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That same year, Retail Ecommerce Ventures purchased the intellectual property assets of Dressbarn from Ascena and relaunched the brand’s e-commerce site in 2020.