An interesting report here from The Atlantic on how online stores have broken a century-old “truce” between merchants and customers on what constitutes fair pricing: Read the article.
Here’s one salient excerpt:
“In 2007, a California man named Marc Ecenbarger thought he had scored when he found a patio set—list price $999—selling on Overstock.com for $449.99. He bought two, unpacked them, then discovered—courtesy of a price tag left on the packaging—that Walmart’s normal price for the set was $247. His fury was profound. He complained to Overstock, which offered to refund him the cost of the furniture.
But his experience was later used as evidence in a case brought by consumer-protection attorneys against Overstock for false advertising, along with internal emails in which an Overstock employee claimed it was commonly known that list prices were “egregiously overstated.”In 2014, a California judge ordered Overstock to pay $6.8 million in civil penalties. (Overstock has appealed the decision.) The past year has seen a wave of similar lawsuits over phony list prices, reports Bonnie Patten, the executive director of TruthinAdvertising.org. In 2016, Amazon began to drop most mentions of “list price,” and in some cases added a new reference point: its own past price.”