Many of you may not have been able to get your Allegra coupons used up or have opted to purchase packages bigger than those advertised at many store as being FREE with the coupons found in the 4/1 coupon inserts. In either case, the retailers who have advertised this product (and possibly manufacture) may be in breach of good faith/fair dealings and be liable for negligent misrepresentation.
According to the FTC, in elements of false advertising and deception cases, you must first prove that there was a misrepresentation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the customer. In this instance: there was a failure to disclose relevant information regarding the offer and use of bait and switch techniques.
A violation occurs when the offer to sell the product (advertisement) is not a bona fide offer. A “bona fide” offer simply means one made in good faith without fraud or deceit.
In the Albertsons weekly circular, the advertising claims that Allegra 24 Hour Relief, 5 ct. is: “FREE! with coupon in most 4/1 Sunday papers.”
Albertsons advertised this item as the Buy: 10, Save $5 promotion yet both the stores and warehouse failed to reasonable stock an anticipated demand of the product. It has been made abundantly clear to me (from speaking with the store in my area) that Albertsons failed their to do their due diligence despite knowledge that this item would be FREE with a coupon weeks in advance. Furthermore, it is deceptive and unlawful for them to release an ad with products advertised that they were incapable of selling.
Admittedly, Albertsons does have disclosures in the fine print; however, none this precludes them from advertising an item for sale that they are incapable of selling. For instance, a store putting out a high-value coupon for a product they do not stock in an effort to get more customers into the store could be construed as false advertising.
Similarly advertising the 5 ct. as being FREE, but only stocking enough for a handful of people can get the deal and then “up selling” the higher ct. Allegra is a bait & switch. Again, the “limited supplies” clause does not preclude Albertsons from being held liable for printing an offer in an ad that they cannot honour.
The first piece of advice I’d give all of you is to try to work with the stores and managers. If that doesn’t work (probably won’t in this instance), then complain to corporate. Albertsons is generally responsive on their Facebook page so I’d recommend making a post there.
However, I’m a firm believer that “errors” (let’s give both the manufacturer and retailers the benefit of the doubt assume that this was not intentional) of this magnitude are too important to ignore:
As I’ve discussed above, it’s my assessment (bear in mind that I’m not an attorney), that what Albertons (and Chattem) has done could easily constitute unfair business practices. If you feel that your rights have been violated, especially if you were talked into buy a larger ct. Allegra and paid the out-of-pocket, then I’d recommend filing a complaint with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
I’ll edit this post as I find more information. Please let us know below what your position is on this. 🙂