Are “store closing” signs misleading advertising?

Daniel Dugo answered in the affirmative in a new class action complaint filed against Lowe’s in California federal court.

When stores close their doors, they usually have a big sale to get rid of inventory, Dugo said. Lowe’s began closing some of its home improvement stores across the country as part of a liquidation process prior to 2019. So when he noticed signs at a local Lowe’s that consumers would receive “40%-60% off the lowest ticketed price,” Dugo stopped in and purchased several items.

But several of the items he bought had no discount or, if there was a discount, it was less than 40 percent, he claimed. For example, he purchased an “AE 1 and 1/2 inch Connector Hose” that was priced at $5.59 but rang up at $3.49, a discount of just 37.5 percent.

This conduct violates the state’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law, Dugo told the court.

“As a consequence of [Lowe’s] unfair and deceptive practices, plaintiff and other similarly situated consumers have purchased [Lowe’s] products under the false impression that they would be receiving a discount on the products that they purchased, and in some instances did not receive the discount as advertised, or other times no discount at all and were overcharged,” according to the complaint.

Dugo seeks to certify a class of California consumers who purchased a product from Lowe’s during a liquidation closure sale over the prior four years, requesting injunctive relief, restitution, statutory damages and disgorgement.

To read the complaint in Dugo v. Lowe’s Companies, Inc., click here.

Why it matters: The plaintiff alleged that Lowe’s has made “significant amounts of money” from California consumers through its allegedly false and misleading advertising for store-closing sales.