Consumer protection lawsuit against Staples settled

VENTURA, CA - District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the District Attorney of Riverside County, has settled a consumer protection lawsuit involving misleading advertising by office supply retailer Staples, Inc. The civil complaint filed in Ventura County alleged that Staples’ advertisements containing the phrases “it’s like getting it for” and “it’s like paying” misled consumers. The advertisements failed to clearly disclose the conditions required to obtain the discounted price, and the advertised price was not the actual price consumers paid at the time of the sale.

The stipulated final judgment includes a permanent injunction requiring that Staples discontinue use of the phrases “it’s like getting it for” and “it’s like paying” in its California advertisements. In addition, Staples is required to clearly disclose the actual price to be paid at the register exclusive of any rebate or loyalty program discount. Staples was ordered to pay $515,435 in civil penalties, legal and investigative costs, and restitution. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office will receive $232,500 as civil penalties and cost recovery. A portion of the settlement amount will be paid to the Consumer Protection Trust Fund for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. Staples agreed to the settlement without admitting liability and was cooperative during the investigation.