GapGap Inc., a retail clothing outlet, was hit with a class action lawsuit Thursday, alleging that the store propagates misleading advertisements for sale items that do not clearly indicate sale exclusions both in its stores and online.

Lead plaintiff, California resident Misbah Etman, claims in the Gap class action lawsuit that she was misled about which items were included in a sale display and which weren’t, allegedly causing her to purchase an item at full price and feel misled.

“Because of the advertisement, Plaintiff believed that all the clothing on the rack bearing the advertisement was on sale at the price displayed on the advertisement and/or subject to the discount stated on the advertisement,” Etman claims in the Gap sale class action lawsuit, however after “Plaintiff looked through the clothing, selected three items she liked, waited in line for an open register, [Etman] found out at the register that Defendant would not sell her one of the items at the price displayed on the advertisement or would not discount one of the items in accordance with the advertisement.” Consequently, “[a]lthough she had been misled, Plaintiff purchased the non-discounted item and paid the higher price Defendant demanded,” alleges the class action lawsuit.

According to the Gap sale class action lawsuit, Gap also misleads consumers through its online stores by “enticing consumers to shop for, and to purchase, products from Defendant through Defendant’s website by means of false and misleading advertisements Defendant emails to consumers.” The Gap class action provides an example of an alleged advertisement Gap emailed “with a hyperlink to Defendant’s website stating clearly in dark letters against a white background ‘Hours to Shop!; Happy Monday; 40% Off Your Purchase; Ends Tonight.'” However, continues the complaint, “the email also states in barely noticeable lettering against a colored background ‘EXCLUSIONS APPLY.”

Additionally, “[o]nce a consumer clicks the hyperlink…the consumer is taken to Defendant’s website to shop [and], [w]hile shopping, Defendant’s website does not identify for consumers the items that are included in the sale, nor does it identify that items that are excluded from the sale,” alleges the Gap class action lawsuit.” Further, “Defendant’s website does not even disclose whether an item is included in or excluded from the sale when a consumer selects an item to place in the consumer’s ‘shopping cart,'” says the Gap sale class action lawsuit.

Etman is seeking to represent a proposed Class of all other consumers who purchased products at Gap stores in California, or purchased products on the Gap website while in California, on days when Gap displayed the advertising described in the class action lawsuit.

“All consumers who purchased products after having been enticed to shop at Defendant’s stores by the advertising described in this complaint have suffered damage as a result of Defendant’s false and misleading advertising,” argues the Gap class action lawsuit. “The consumers who paid full price for products suffered damage in the amounts they overpaid,” and “the consumers who paid the discounted prices suffered damage in amounts that will be the subject of expert testimony,” continues Etman’s complaint.

The class action lawsuit alleges that Gap’s actions violate California’s unfair competition law, false advertising law, Business and Professions code and Consumer Legal Remedies Act, with the damages to the class totaling more than $10 million.

Lead plaintiff, Misbah Etman, is represented by William M. Turner and Usman S. Mohammed of Jones Bell Abbott Fleming & Fitzgerald LLP.

The Gap Discounting Class Action Lawsuit is Misbah Etman, et al. v. The Gap Inc., et al., Case No. BC547161, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

UPDATE: On Mar. 1, 2016, a judge dismissed a false sale class action lawsuit that accuses The Gap Inc. of using deceptive advertising to trick consumers into buying merchandise at full price, but will give the plaintiff “one last chance” to amend the complaint.

Join a Gap or Banana Republic Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

If you have shopped at a Gap or Banana Republic store in California within the past four years, and purchased a non-discounted item that you thought was on sale, you may have a legal claim.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.

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12 Comments

  • nate June 4, 2014

    I am a loyal customer of GAP, and buy clothes and sandals from there. According to the Class Action Suit, we are been overcharged, and saying Sale, when its not actually a good sale. Consumers who paid full price for products suffered damage in the amounts they overpaid on all or most items purchased in the store. I am really disappointed if this is 100 percent true according to the class action lawsuit filed against GAP. I guess only way to avoid this is to compensate all consumers, and make a policy not to mislead consumers about a sale in the future. This actually sounds like a bait and switch method, that other retailers sometime use around the world.. I will be filing, where do I sign up?

    • Me June 10, 2014

      I think a better idea would be to create a policy to not mislead consumers about a sale, then start selling products. Such a policy would instill consumer confidence and customer satisfaction; rare but precious commodities if companies expect to sell something.

      • Kelly Anderson June 11, 2014

        Hit Direct TV… now owned by AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and others do follow.

  • Janice June 10, 2014

    Yes this has happened to me time and time again with gap.com. Many stores do this, because I shop online all the time.

    • Kelly Anderson June 11, 2014

      Hi Janice,
      What I’ve done is made a mental note of companies I trust and like and try to only conduct business with them. I understand what you are saying because I had a long term relationship with an TV entertainment provider that decided to take money off my charge account without my approval nor knowledge (violated my trust totally, especially since I am responsible). But, buyer beware now that you know… an old saying is that *hit starts at the top and travels downhill. Sad times of greed and corruption we are facing, it is truly having an impact on folk. As a Mom, I am totally not happy about this. It isn’t the working class trying to make a living Walmart, fast food, restaurant, or other fault or to blame, it is strictly and solely the corporation/companies fault of greed, disrespect and inappreciation of worker staff that is the driving force of the particular locale business. Everyone wants to maintain and be able to provide, magnified if children and partner is involved, but crucial to a mans well being. As a people we need to fight for an increase in minimum wage, but moreover… big time profit margin companies need to pay a % to workers. And in return, workers will be more loyal, happier with their job, better customer service, feeling better and this in turn reflects on public service… people you encounter. Energy attracts energy. A positive strikes a positive. A negative is a sad, sad, thing and pitiful aweful thing to encounter…. These are the minimum wage workers at Walmart, McDonalds (who we trust to prepare and cook our food… think about it) , etc. If your employer treats you like sh*it, do not value you or see any positive, aspiring, good nature qualities in you… then you will feel DEVALUED. This will cause unhappiness, maybe depression and will show on customers! Walmart and all the Billion dollar all about self money families and corporations are EVIL. Our Earth doesn’t work this way. Everything has a cause and effect. Science. Our atmosphere. WE THE PEOPLE CAN CONTROL THIS. Support USA and Our Economy.

  • julia richardson June 10, 2014

    How do I file a class action?

  • joan June 10, 2014

    how do I file a class action?

  • Kelly Anderson June 11, 2014

    Oh well… Another corporation greed attack. There is an old saying that what happens at the top triggers down. I do not shop there at all and will not for they do not suit my being. Its just sad times having to live in this type of society where things have changed drastically within the past 20 years.

    I hope this company gets sued their pants off and I do not respect these types of businesses. People are people and how you treat people will reflect upon that company. This is one of the reasons why Walmart is hated. Amazon is very well respected as they seem to know basic polite communication customer service skills and supports both customer and business with their almost perfectionist standards that reminds me of myself in how I would conduct business relations. Make employee happy… customer is happy. (dahhhh)

  • Deborah Fochler June 11, 2014

    Not only Gap, but Old Navy, Lane Bryant, Avenue and others. I shop on line a lot and it is common practice. They send you an email – saying 40% or 50% off but once you place an item in the cart – it is never the amount off advertised. Sometimes 10% sometimes 0% and IF you do get a discount – the shipping is outrageous. Sometimes double or triple what “normal” shipping is on the site. Just this month, I saw a dress I wanted. Noted the price. When I got an email I went back and even with the 40% off the price was actually more than the first time I placed it in my cart. Not unusual…

  • CoCo Smith December 5, 2015

    Why is it only in California that’s completely unfair

  • Janie December 29, 2015

    I have been a loyal GAP customer for 23 years (birth of my first child). I visited the store (not the outlet),yesterday, with an email coupon which stated $40 off $100, some exclusions apply, valid in store and online for one day only. After several attempts to locate the exclusions in the email, I asked the store employee what the exclusions were. He asked his manager and reported back that its the regular exclusions, which are GAP fit items, and khakis. Just to make sure I was clear, I asked if the items I was holding were covered by the coupon. He stated they were. I continued shopping for another half hour and proceeded to the register. I waited behind a couple who were confused as to why the store employee would not accept their coupon. They read and reread the exclusions on the bottom of their coupon and it was as though the sales personnel did not hear or care to hear what they were saying. Little did I know this was the same coupon I was about to attempt to use. The couple continues to argue with the sales person and the manager opens a register and proceeds to ring up my purchase. This purchase included several sale items and two clearance items. In fact, upon entering the store you are told that everything is 30% off, excluding the clearance, which is an additional 60% off the lowest price. After my items are totaled up, I give my phone to the manager and he states that the coupon is not good on any of the items I am purchasing. At this point the couple at the register next to me, who are getting quite upset ask an excellent question . What is included? What item in the store can you buy to use the coupon? The manager first states this coupon is not good in the store because their prices are much better than the online prices. We both point out that the coupon states it is to be used in store. He then states that the coupon clearly states it is not valid on regular priced childrens items. We both point out that we don’t have any regular priced items, as everything in the store if 30 or 60 percent off. The couple beside me ended up unhappily paying for their items without the discount. I proceeded to argue with the manager, who finally ended up giving me the $40 off. While I was at the register a third person attempted to use the coupon. She too was completely perplexed at what the coupon was to be used on. I do not know what happened with her purchase. But, as you can see, I was not the only person lured into the store with the promise of a deep discount. As I see it, this is false advertisement. First of all, I came right out and asked the store employee about the terms shortly after arriving at the store. I was lied to. There is no other way of looking at it. It was a lie. Not sure if the others had asked about the terms, but I do know they spent quite a bit of time shopping for their items. I wasn’t paying close attention, but they may have been shopping just as I was, and sending pictures of the items to their children (for approval), who would be waiting anxiously for their new snazzy sweaters when they got home. After putting this much effort into selecting your items, it makes it extremely difficult to just walk away when you get to the register. I don’t do business with individuals or companies who have dishonest business practices. Im not sure how we will ever find khakis that fit us as well, or sweatshirts that hold up as well, but this family will never be back in a GAP store or purchase online, again.

  • Top Class Actions March 4, 2016

    UPDATE: On Mar. 1, 2016, a judge dismissed a false sale class action lawsuit that accuses The Gap Inc. of using deceptive advertising to trick consumers into buying merchandise at full price, but will give the plaintiff “one last chance” to amend the complaint.

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