Consumer Takes on HP Over Misleading Website Price Advertisements

HP Inc. has been sued for false advertising, according to a San Jose, California lawsuit filed on Wednesday. The plaintiff’s claims arise from his purchase of a desktop computer that was advertised as being on sale at a lower price, but allegedly almost always sold at that lower price in violation of reference pricing laws. The Nevada consumer accuses the company of engaging in this practice to boost sales and maximize profits.

The complaint alleges that HP, the largest computer seller nationwide, displays inflated reference prices on its website and advertises correspondingly inflated savings based on those prices. The filing explains that the reference prices are false because “they do not represent the actual prices at which HP regularly sells its products.” As a result, when a purchaser is induced to buy the product because of the advertised deal, he is in fact “‘not receiving the unusual value he expects.’”

The filing also alleges that HP falsely advertises limited-quantity and limited-time offers. These too are intended to lure prospective customers to make purchases based on the false impression they were getting a special deal, the plaintiff urges. 

The consumer seeks to certify a nationwide class of purchasers, whether entities or individuals, as well as a consumer subclass, both consisting of those who bought an HP product on its website advertised as discounted from a reference price since October 2017 and October 2018, respectively. The complaint states nine contract, tort, and California consumer protection and business competition law causes of action.

The plaintiff is represented by Edge, A Professional Law Corporation and Capstone Law APC, the same counsel who represent a consumer and putative class in a reference pricing action against Lenovo Inc. In that suit, the parties have stipulated that Lenovo will respond to the complaint by November 15.