SEATTLE ̵[ads1]1; A judge has determined that Value Village tricked customers into its advertising and mislead consumers that it was a charity or nonprofit for a ten years, the state attorney for Washington announced Friday.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the company violated the state's Consumer Protection Act.
"Value Village served to mislead Washingtonians into thinking it was a nonprofit," Ferguson said. "My office received many complaints from consumers who feel deceived by Value Villages advertising."
Ferguson said in a news release that Value Village is a for-profit business that brings in $ 1 billion in revenue annually.
King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff found that Value Village misled local Washingtonians into believing that their purchases benefited charities.
Rogoff will determine the penalties the company will have.
In 2017, Ferguson filed a consumer protection claim against the company that owns Value Village.
The suit alleged that TVI Inc., of Bellevue, had used deceptive marketing that led consumers and donors to believe that Value Village is a nonprofit or charity, and that the types of gifts and purchases benefited charity.
In 2018, a federal judge dismissed a preventive lawsuit brought against Ferguson by TVI Inc. The lawsuit said the state attorney had demanded $ 3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation, but that the claim violated its freedom of expression.
Value Villages general counsel, Rich Medway, gave KIRO 7 this statement:
"Value Village is proud of our business and we have operated with the support of our clients and non-profit partners for more than 50 years. "
"Today, the judge praised our business model and said: & # 39; There is nothing wrong with TVI's business model, in fact I would say we should have more members of the corporate community who reuse useless, unsaleable objects; w ho is looking for ways to get rid of the things they can't sell; working with charities and nonprofits, doing the kind of business they do. & # 39; "
" Value Village won the majority of the lawsuits. The court ruled that we have always operated in accordance with the Washington state charity law. The judge also confirmed in today's ruling that Value Village has always paid for all items donated by the public to our non-profit partners, which he said provide a steady stream of funds to support the incredible work these charities do. & # 39; "
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