— Circuit City Stores Inc. ("Circuit
City") has agreed to pay the State
$173,220 in civil penalties and investigative
costs and to comply with statutes and
regulations governing advertisements,
under terms of an agreement settling a
lawsuit, Attorney General Peter C. Harvey
and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly
Ricketts announced today.
consent judgement filed today settles
a lawsuit filed against Circuit City in
December 2004. The lawsuit alleged that
Circuit City violated New Jersey’s
Consumer Fraud Act and Merchandise Advertising
Regulations, as well as terms of a 1996
Agreement of Voluntary Compliance, in
its advertisement of Zero Percent (0%)
interest financing offers. The lawsuit
also alleged violations for not having
advertised items available for purchase
and in the use of footnotes that explained
terms and conditions relevant to consumers.
City also resolved 37 customer complaints
since Consumer Affairs filed its lawsuit.
Those consumers received $3,918 in refunds.
magnifying glass shouldn’t be required
to read footnotes that tell consumers
all the details of a seemingly great deal,"
Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said.
"Headlines proclaim but footnotes
explain and this settlement prohibits
the obscuring of any relevant information.
We want consumers to know all the facts
before they sign on the dotted line."
the settlement, Circuit City agrees to:
with the State’s General Advertising
utilize any type, size, location, lighting,
illustration, graphic depiction or color
resulting in the obscuring of any material
fact, in the advertisement of Zero Percent
(0%) interest offers and merchandise
a sufficient quantity of sale items
in inventory or otherwise available
for immediate purchase;
mark all merchandise offered for sale
with a stamp, tag, label or sign either
affixed to the merchandise or located
at the point where the merchandise is
offered for sale; and
with all provisions of the 1996 Agreement
of Voluntary Compliance regarding advertisement
of Zero Percent (0%) finance offers.
expect the 1996 agreement of voluntary
compliance to be fully adhered to, as
well as all the terms contained in this
settlement," Attorney General Harvey
said. "Consumers are entitled to
clear and conspicuous disclosure of the
terms and conditions of the offers presented
City is paying $150,000 to settle the
lawsuit brought by the State, and $23,220
in reimbursement for costs in investigating
been said that the devil is in the details.
But sometimes consumers have a devil of
a time in first finding and then reading
the footnotes that contain the details.
Circuit City will provide those details
to consumers in footnotes that are easy
to find and read, as required in this
settlement," Consumer Affairs Director
Kimberly Ricketts said.
Attorney General Nicholas B. Armstrong
represented the State in this matter.