Retail

Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Zara Of "Bait & Switch" Pricing

Fast fashion retailer Zara is facing a lawsuit from U.S. consumers that alleges that the firm intentionally misleads American consumers as to the price of its products.

Specifically, the case filed by shopper Devin Rose in the United States District Court for the Central District of California accuses the apparel company of using listings in Euros to lure customers in with a deceptively low-looking price only to sell them the item in dollars at a currency exchange rate far above anything being advertised anywhere.

Zara "vehemently denied" the accusations in an email sent to RetailDive.

Zara USA vehemently denies any allegations that the company engages in deceptive pricing practices in the United States. While we have not yet been served the complaint containing these baseless claims, we pride ourselves in our fundamental commitment to transparency and honest, ethical conduct with our valued customers. We remain focused on providing excellent customer service and high-quality fashion products at great value for our customers. We look forward to presenting our full defense in due course through the legal process.

Inditex — Zara's parent firm and the largest apparel company on Earth — is considered the firm that put fast fashion on the map. And though that model — quick to the shelves, quick to replace and low cost — has made Zara an international presence in fashion, it has also drawn sharp criticism of its practices. These complaints include reliance on sweatshop labor in the developing world that encourages unethical worker treatment and a design aesthetic that prizes volume over taste. "Bait and switch" now goes on the list of ethically questionable practices Zara has been accused of dabbling in to push consumers into a belief that their clothes are somewhat cheaper than they really are.

The lawsuit, filed in California by law firm Geragos & Geragos, could potentially draw millions of other customers if the suit is granted class-action status.

"We are hopeful this class action will compel Zara to stop its unlawful pricing practices of charging substantially in excess of the tagged prices on its clothes, which has caused consumers to pay on average $5 to $50 more per item, and billions of dollars in the aggregate," Ben Meiselas, one of Rose’s attorneys, told The Fashion Law.

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