Outlet stores could be misleading shoppers

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HARTFORD — Sen. Richard Blumenthal has a warning for shoppers today– he’ll first hold a press conference to share the information –and then will make a trip to the Clinton Crossing outlets.

Blumenthal is concerned about the way the outlet stores price their merchandise and talk a big game about how shopping at the outlets is a great way to save, but Blumenthal says that’s very misleading.

If you shop the outlets, you know a lot of times what you see is the price on an item– and then a comparison to what you would be paying at a mall store or a department store, but Sen. Blumenthal says items are made specifically for the outlets and those comparative price tags –that make you think you’re getting a great bargain –are just smoke and mirrors. And it’s not just happening at the physical store locations this is also bleeding into the online sales. The senator cites a lawsuit where overstock.com had to pay $6.8 million for fraudulent practices. There are 11 pending class-action lawsuits against outlet names like Ralph Lauren and the gap outlet to name two.

The senator is holding his press conference and doing the shopping excursion to try to put the pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to open up an investigation into the outlets. He tried this last January but the FTC declined to investigate.

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