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December 2, 2019

Hey Clif Bar, Where’s the White Chocolate?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:42 am

A California consumer sued the maker of Clif Bars for misleading practices alleging that their “White Chocolate Macadamia Nut” Clif Bars had no white chocolate.

Clif Bar

A quick scan of the ingredients label confirms that omission.

*MOUSE PRINT:

INGREDIENTS
Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Rolled Oats, Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Roasted Soybeans, Rice Flour, Macadamia Nuts, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Soy Flour, Cocoa Butter‡, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Organic Cocoa Butter‡, Sea Salt, Soy Flour, Barley Malt Extract, Soy Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant).

The consumer argued that the FDA has specific regulations of what constitutes white chocolate, and this product didn’t meet that standard.

The company asserted that the term “natural flavor” in tiny print on the front of the package, along with the ingredients statement should have put the reasonable consumer in a position to understand there was no white chocolate in this product.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Clif Bar natural flavor

The judge dismissed the lawsuit saying that although the consumer properly alleged there was a misrepresentation, it may not have been reasonable to have relied just on the big print.

Give me a break.




• • •

November 25, 2019

Old Navy Sued Over Fake Sales, Inflated “Regular” Prices

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:45 am

Everybody loves a bargain, but it has to be a bona fide price reduction from a real regular price. Using inflated regular prices that are rarely if ever charged to make the current sale price look like a deal is not only misleading, but illegal.

And so, one woman from California and one from New Jersey recently filed a class action lawsuit against Old Navy for this exact practice.

In one example in the case, the West Coast shopper bought a pair of jeans like this when they were advertised at $15 — 50-percent off the regular price.

Old Navy skinny jeans

*MOUSE PRINT:

Her lawyers conducted extensive research on Old Navy’s pricing practices, and discovered that the jeans she bought were offered at the full “regular” price of $29.99 for only 12 days over a 486-day period prior to her purchase. So the deal she thought she getting was really no deal at all.

The lawsuit seeks disgorgement of their ill-gotten profits, and an injunction against further misleading sales and discounts. Cases like this have gone both ways in California. Sometimes consumers win, and sometimes stores do. We’ll keep you posted.




• • •

November 4, 2019

Beware This Disingenuous Discount

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:46 am

When a web store offers 20% off upon entering a promo code at checkout, who wouldn’t use it? We all would. But here is an example from the Bath and Body Works website that may make you rethink always using a coupon code.

Bath and Body 5.99

For this purchase of some hand sanitizer, they are charging $5.99 for shipping. There is, however, at the top of every page a 20% off offer if you enter a particular promo code when you check out.

20% off

If you enter that code, something surprising happens.

*MOUSE PRINT:

$9.99 shipping

While you indeed get a $2.20 discount on the hand sanitizer, the price of shipping mysteriously jumps up $4 from $5.99 to $9.99.

What’s going on here? The answer is contained in a fine print disclosure elsewhere on their website:

*MOUSE PRINT:

shipping policy

The 20% off coupon which was applied to this order reduced the merchandise total to under their $10 minimum and thus a $4 surcharge was imposed. Most people would never realize that using a discount coupon could actually cost them money.




• • •

October 28, 2019

CVS’ Surprisingly Generous Coupon Policy

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

The last place one might expect a retailer to be overly generous to customers is CVS Pharmacy. But their coupon acceptance policy has some unexpected benefits for shoppers.

Let’s say CVS has certain vitamins on sale “buy one, get one free” and you have two $1 manufacturer’s coupons. Most stores would say you can only use one of those coupons for the item you are paying for because the other one is free. Not CVS!

*MOUSE PRINT:

Can I use multiple coupons on sale items? Yes, for certain coupons and certain sale items.

Examples:
• Suave shampoo is on sale for $2.00 Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) and the customer purchases two shampoos; the
customer may use two coupons for $1.00 each.

CVS actually allows you to apply one of these two coupons to the free item.

Another unexpected bit of generosity occurs in this example:

Suave shampoo is on sale for $2.00 BOGO and customer has a mfr. coupon for Suave BOGO. Customer will receive both
items for free but will need to pay any applicable tax.

In this case, you don’t even have to buy the first bottle of shampoo. Amazing.

While we’re on the subject of CVS coupons, recently MrConsumer used a bit of his own brand of coupon magic at CVS where he bought over $25 worth of merchandise and only paid… drumroll… $1.68.

CVS products - receipt

Each of the three items was over $8 regular price, but they were all on sale. The pills were buy one, get one free and I had both a single $5 off manufacturer’s coupon and a $2 off CVS coupon. The trail mix was on sale for $4.99 but I had a $3 CVS snack coupon, and $2 toward anything store coupon. The net result was a 93-percent savings (excluding sales tax).




• • •

October 21, 2019

Holy Sheets: Sparkle Paper Towels Get Upsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

In a world where grocery manufacturers are constantly downsizing their products, Georgia Pacific has been advertising that their Sparkle paper towel rolls are now larger:

Sparkle ad

They say they added 200 sheets per six-roll pack.

*MOUSE PRINT:


Sparkle old 90 sheets

 

Sparkle 126 sheets

In this case, they went from 90 sheets on a roll to 126. That is 36 sheets more per roll, and 216 sheets more per package. But that is not the whole story. You will notice that Georgia Pacific lopped of one-half an inch from the length of each sheet. A spokesperson for the company explained why they did this:

“We reduced our sheet size to a level consistent with the sheet size of the other national brands in the category. In fact, Sparkle® was the last brand on the shelf with the traditionally larger sheet size. Our research indicated that the half inch was not valued as much as getting more sheets per roll, despite the slightly smaller size. We put that half inch per sheet back into the product in the form of more sheets per roll.”

Despite the shortening of each sheet by one-half inch, the total number of square feet per package went from 268.1 to 346.5 square feet.

But, you need to look carefully in your favorite store when the new packages come in because they are not all as pictured above with 126 sheets per roll. Some only have 116.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sparkle new 116

The company said that some stores choose to carry the slightly smaller rolls. We’re guessing grocers make more money on this six pack than the one with slightly larger rolls.

When companies continually downsize their products, eventually some of them reintroduce the original larger versions, but at a much steeper price than they were originally. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Sparkle, however, because their spokesperson said the suggested retail price of the new larger packages is still the same as the old ones. Hard to believe, but that proved to be the case in MrConsumer’s local supermarket, where both the old and the new ones were $7.79 when not on sale. Most paper companies announced price increases this past winter and perhaps that increase went into effect prior to the current upsizing.




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