TJ Maxx, the store parents count on for back-to-school savings and deep discounts on interesting “home goods,” may be in some very big trouble. Two Maxxinistas who shop at the store on “occasion” are attempting to launch a class-action lawsuit against the store for deceptive pricing that means nothing.

The lawsuit, being proposed by Staci Chester and Daniel Friedman, alleges that the store’s “compare at” prices, which suggest an item’s actual value on the tag, are nothing more than falsehoods and pipe dreams. It’s not that the slightly irregular lime green Hugo Boss t-shirt you’re buying isn’t worth every penny of the seven dollars you’re spending on it, The Consumerist reports—it’s just that when TJ Maxx tells you that its actual retail value was a cool $40 at another retailer, that’s a huge lie. Yep, as many of us have long suspected, TJ Maxx buyers just pull those “compare at” numbers out of their butts.

From Law360 via Racked:

“After reading T.J. Maxx’s interpretation of their ‘compare at’ pricing, I really don’t know what that price is, or where they came up with it ... it appears that it’s just there to make me feel good about my purchase,” Chester and Friedman’s lawyer, Christopher Morosoff, told Law360. “In general, we think they need to be more clear about what their ‘compare at’ price is, and where they came up with it.”

It turns out that TJ Maxx lets you know that the “compare at” prices are imaginary numbers that no one’s ever charged before. Their website puts this caveat on their page:

The “compare at” price is our buying staff’s estimate of the regular, retail price at which a comparable item in finer catalogs, specialty or department stores may have been sold.

The site also helpfully suggests you do your own comparison shopping before believing them and their commercials give hints that the prices might be imaginary as well, suggesting they sell items at “TJ Maxx” prices and counting on you to interpret what that means.

It’ll be interesting to see how this would do as a class-action lawsuit, but if deceptive pricing techniques are outlawed, how will we celebrate Black Friday, the annual American holiday where every mall store lies to you about what their sale items might have gone for at full price?


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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