Wny Retail Chain Cited For False Advertising

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a Western New York retail chain over false claims that its furniture and mattresses were priced at huge discounts.

"Truthful advertising is paramount in maintaining a fair and competitive marketplace," Spitzer said. "It is equally important, however, that consumers have accurate and complete information in order that they make informed, appropriate choices."

Rosa’s Home Appliance and Entertainment Center was accused of advertising furniture and mattresses at "50% off list price," when, in fact, there were no such prices provided by manufacturers. In settling the allegations, Rosa’s principle, Paul Rosa, modify its marketing practices.

The retail Cheektowaga retail chain, commonly referred to as Rosa’s Superstores and Bassett Direct Plus, sells major appliances, electronic items, furniture and mattresses.

Spitzer’s office had charged that Rosa’s advertising of such discounts was fictitious because manufacturers of furniture and mattresses did not provide Rosa’s with list prices for the products. Spitzer’s investigation also revealed that Rosa’s was offering purported "sale prices" that were, in fact, everyday, regular prices. Because many consumers believe that a list price is the price at which items are generally sold, Rosa’s advertising was alleged to constitute a breach of the state’s false advertising and deceptive business practices law.

Rosa’s also agreed to pay $15,000 to cover the costs of the Attorney General’s investigation. The settlement includes a prohibition that Rosa’s not advertise an item at a discount from a purported list price unless the price is provided by a manufacturer and is regularly charged by retailers in Rosa’s market area.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Dennis Rosen of the Buffalo Regional Office.