It seems forever that Mike Lindell, the inventor of the wildly successful MyPillow, has been selling his fluffy creations on a “buy one, get one free” basis. One was $99.xx and the other one was “free.” If you didn’t need two pillows, you could hunt around on his website, go to a TV shopping channel or store, and buy one for $49.xx — the real price of a single pillow.
The problem with offers like this is that it is generally considered an unfair or deceptive practice to double the regular price of an item in order to give away a second one free. Many moons ago, MrConsumer went after Mattress Discounters while at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for this very practice. When they had a “buy the mattress, get the boxspring free” sale, they just doubled the price of the mattress in order to give away the boxspring free. We collected a cool million in penalties and mattress donations to the homeless.
The Better Business Bureau contacted MyPillow last summer about the misleading BOGO offer. It tried to explain to the company that you cannot perpetually advertise a sale and savings because at some point the sale price really is the regular price. Then in early January 2017 after Lindell had continued to advertise that offer all fall, the BBB pulled the company’s accreditation and lowered its rating to an “F.”
Then in late January, MyPillow finally changed its advertising. But it is still advertising sale prices. This time it is 30% off.
The problem remains the same, however. If you are continually on sale, whether it is “buy one, get one free,” or “50% off,” or “30% off,” the savings are illusory because they are based off a fictitious, inflated regular price that may never be charged. In Massachusetts, for example, there is a requirement that the item be offered at the regular price for a reasonably substantial period of time.
MyPillow could make some clever legal arguments to try to absolve itself of any wrongdoing should the company be sued, but that issue is for another day.
On the radio recently, MyPillow has gone back to promoting “50% off” sales and “buy one, get three free” offers. So it looks like not much has changed.