Jos. A. Bank faces lawsuit over sale prices

BALTIMORE — Two customers of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the men's apparel chain based in Hampstead, Md., accusing the retailer of using deceptive marketing by claiming merchandise is on sale when it is being offered at regular price.

James Waldron and Matthew Villani filed the complaint April 5 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, seeking a jury trial. The plaintiffs filed on behalf of themselves and others who bought Jos. A. Bank merchandise from April 5, 2006, to the present. The lawsuit asks the court to award damages and stop the retailer from using misleading advertising.

The lawsuit says that, contrary to Jos. A. Bank's representation, "the merchandise is perpetually 'on sale,' and the 'sale price' is actually the price at which Jos. A. Bank regularly offers their merchandise for sale," the lawsuit says. It adds that the merchandise was "rarely, if ever, sold at 'regular price'" and that advertisements created a false sense of urgency and gave the impression that prices would rise after a limited time.

The company noted the suit in its May 30 quarterly report, saying, "We intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously," the Baltimore Sun reported.

The plaintiffs, both from New Jersey, said they wouldn't have made purchases at Jos. A. Bank if they had not been swayed by the company's advertising, which they say violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

"Jos. A. Bank should not be allowed to retain the premium price profits generated from the sale of products that were unlawfully marketed, advertised and promoted," the lawsuit says.

Among the retailer's 500 stores are two locations in Lexington.