Washington’s state Attorney General struck out on behalf of consumers again today, with a lawsuit against Value Village, a for-profit business that gets confused for a non-profit, the filing claims.
The 37-page complaint, filed in King County Superior Court, alleged deceptions mainly involve misleading consumers and donors to believe that all types of donations and purchases benefitted charity, and creating the impression that Value Village itself is a non-profit or charity.
In fact, the company is the largest for-profit thrift retailer in the world, generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue. It runs 20 stores in Washington state, among its 330 stores worldwide.
The lawsuit alleges the company’s marketing approach violates Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive conduct in the marketplace and the Charitable Solicitations Act, which prohibits false, misleading, or deceptive charitable solicitations.
An independent study commissioned as part of the state’s investigation shows that Value Village’s conduct deceived Washingtonians. More than 75 percent of residents surveyed in a test group believed that the company was a charity or nonprofit organization.
Last week, attorneys for Value Village filed a preemptive lawsuit against the Attorney General’s Office in an attempt to avoid responsibility for their deceptive acts. The state has since filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit.