Computer Purchasers Sue Lenovo Over ‘False Reference Pricing’ Practices

A class action lawsuit filed earlier this week accused Lenovo Inc. of violating California and federal law by displaying false regular prices on its website and advertising false discounts based on those prices. The Northern District of California complaint alleged that this illegal marketing practice artificially hikes demand for Lenovo’s products and causes customers to pay more for them based on an inflated impression of their value.

According to the filing, Lenovo is the world’s largest computer manufacturer. In order to “sell more products and maximize its profits,” the complaint said, Lenovo engages in fraud to deceive consumers into thinking they are receiving a better deal than they actually are. The consumers state that “after all, a customer is more likely to purchase a $2,000 laptop advertised at 50% off its regular price than pay full price for a $1,000 laptop.”

To illustrate the alleged deception, the complaint provides several examples. The filing explained that a customer who purchased a ThinkPad P52 Mobile Workstation laptop on Lenovo’s website in July 2019 for $1,169 saved $390, while a customer who purchased the same laptop in September 2019 for $1,189 saved $1,170. 

The plaintiffs argued that instead of honestly telling customers the price at which the computer was previously sold, “Lenovo inflates the regular price to make customers believe they are getting an incredible deal.” In addition, the lawsuit pointed to other deceptive tactics such as fake limited time only deals and a continuous stream of seemingly time sensitive coupon codes intended to entice consumers. 

The complaint requested certification of two nationwide classes and two California classes. It stated eight claims for relief grounded in contract and tort law, the Uniform Commercial Code, and California’s consumer protection and business competition laws. The suit seeks to curb Lenovo’s allegedly deceptive marketing practices and obtain compensation for the plaintiffs and all others similarly fleeced by Lenovo’s false advertising.

The plaintiffs are represented by Edge, A Professional Law Corporation and Capstone Law APC.