A.G. Schneiderman Secures Over $220,000 Settlement From Hobby Lobby Stores In An Investigation Of Misleading Advertising

Stores Ran Bogus Sales During Two-Year Period, Consumers Deceived Over Supposed Discounts

Settlement Includes $138,600 For Nearly 700 Public Schools Across Upstate New York

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that retail chain Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has agreed to enter into a settlement of his office’s investigation into alleged deceptive advertising practices. Hobby Lobby misled customers into thinking they were receiving steep discounts through deceptive advertising over a two-year period.  As part of the settlement, the company will change its advertising practices over the next 60 days, contribute $138,600 in supplies to public schools near Hobby Lobby stores in Upstate New York, and pay $85,000 in civil penalties and other costs.

“When companies mislead customers by advertising never-ending sales, our office will hold them accountable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Ultimately, a permanent sale is no sale at all.”

As a result of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s settlement, Hobby Lobby, a major seller of school supplies, will be required to give nearly 700 schools a total of $138,600 in gift cards for supplies in addition to paying civil penalties.  

The investigation began in 2013, when Attorney General Schneiderman’s office began tracking marketing materials advertising 50 percent off and 30 percent off sales. Hobby Lobby advertised its custom framing, furniture, and home décor products as sale items for more than 52 consecutive weeks.  The investigation determined that Hobby Lobby violated New York’s General Business Law (350-D) for False Advertising. Sales that are never-ending are in violation of the false advertising law. 

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Bruce, and the investigation was handled by Investigator Jennifer Hill of the Rochester Regional Office, which is led by Assistant Attorney General In-Charge of the Rochester office Debra Martin. The Rochester Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Offices, headed by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.

Number of Schools Eligible to Receive Gift Cards for Student Supplies:

Erie

177

Monroe

108

Onondaga

102

Dutchess

49

Albany

48

Oneida

37

Schenectady

35

Niagara

26

Chemung

23

Orange

20

Rensselaer

20

Saratoga

14

Ulster

14

Madison

5

Wayne

5

Herkimer

3

Oswego

3

 

 

Total

689

 

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