Retail re-ticketing: Stores caught marking up prices
Lynda Steele and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Monday, September 8, 2014 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, September 8, 2014 8:11PM PDT
Several major retailers are facing the wrath of consumers after getting caught marking up prices and then holding big sales to make it look like the merchandise was deeply discounted.
Extreme couponer Jhenelle Ryan first noticed the re-stickering when she saw jeans on sale recently at the Gap outlet.
"I thought to myself, what a great deal, knowing there was a 40 per cent sign right beside it," said Ryan.
Ryan was about to buy a pair, until she noticed the $64.99 price tag was covering up another containing the lower price of $59.99.
She wrote to Gap to complain, but was told in an email, "unfortunately, there are times that prices must fluctuate to a higher price point due to certain business needs."
Consumer reporter Lynda Steele visited the Gap outlet store in New Westminster to investigate. It took less than a minute to find several examples of re-ticketed jeans, all covering up lower price tags.
Gap insisted it was an isolated incident, telling CTV News in an email it had "looked into this situation and found it to be an isolated human error."
The Associate Dean of the UBC Sauder School of Business says re-ticketing is a common and unpopular retail practice called "dynamic pricing".
"Consumers get very upset if they get ‘tricked’ if you will, and they realize that, you know what? I've been played for the fool," said Darren Dahl.
In the United States, retail giants Kohls and JC Penney have been repeatedly sued by consumers for increasing prices before holding a sale.
A hidden camera investigation at JC Penney stores in Maryland and Virginia found items in every store that appeared to be marked up, and then put on sale.
Ryan says she’s glad she noticed the re-ticketing on her pair of jeans and is now leery of so-called sales.
"I'm going to do a lot of peeling back of the sticker prices for sure," she said.