16 CFR Part 424 Retail Food Store Advertising and Marketing Practices Rule, Project No. P104203
This rule should be expanded to include ALL retail outlets, including Internet retailers, for all types of merchandise. The rule should be amended so that "limited to quantities on-hand" is no longer a valid excuse to deny customers the advertised item at the advertised price. The rule should be amended so that retailers have an obligation to honor "rain-checks" within a limited time period, or offer a comparable product at the advertised price. Case History: In my area, a major electronics retailer advertises deeply discounted items daily, "limited to quantities on-hand". The retailer has stocked only 2 or 3 of the items. The advertised items sell out within minutes of the store opening, and customers are steered to buy comparable items at several times the cost of the advertised item. If a customer asks for a rain-check, they are given one. However, the retailer does not ever stock that particular item made by that particular manufacturer ever again, so the rain-check is never redeemable. This abusive practice is followed by appliance dealers, electronics dealers, furniture dealers, and many more. Amending the rule as suggested herein closes this exploitive loophole and enhances the intended consumer protection.