If you see a sale that looks too good to be true then it probably is.
A warning for bargain shoppers: Is your favorite retailer misleading you with those big sales? We've reported on this before, and now we're back with a new development.
We all love a good sale, and when you see that sign — 20 percent off, 30 percent off, 50 percent off — you assume you're getting a deal. But we found that sale price may not be a deal at all.
We first told you about this last month. Well, right after that story aired on TODAY, store insiders emailed me, speaking out against one of the country's most popular retailers. And what they say may change the wayyou shop.
The allure of the sale: prices too good to pass up. And we eat it up. But now, two JC Penney employees say some of those amazing bargains aren't bargains at all.
A few months ago JC Penney changed its pricing model, from everyday low pricing to sales. The company says that's what customers wanted. But these employees say JC Penney was really just artificially inflating prices, then putting those same items on sale.
J.C. Penney is going to war against a former employee who outed the department store for its questionable discounting practices.
The department store was drastically hiking prices on items, cutting them back and then advertising huge "discounts," the former employee, Bob Blatchford, told the Today show last July. In one case, a "rack of $7 shorts became $14, and then they were 50 percent off," a separate J.C. Penney worker told the Today show.
"I saw a lot of pricing teams going through the store, raising the prices, mostly doubling -- towels and clothing," Blatchford told NBC's Jeff Rossen. "Then they would go on sale, and they wouldn't always go on sale for 50 percent off. Not only was it a fake sale, but they were actually paying more than they would have been previously."
Ominously, Blatchford told Today, "I don't think Penney's will survive if they keep doing this."
Now it's Blatchford who is fighting for survival. Two days after his appearance on the Today show, he was fired from J.C. Penney in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was a custom decorating studio coordinator. When he filed for unemployment benefits, J.C. Penney contested his claim, he said. J.C. Penney also recently filed an arbitration petition to get Blatchford to give back any company documents that he might have. But Blatchford thinks the arbitration is really just an attempt to discourage him from speaking out about the company. J.C. Penney declined to comment on Blatchford's situation or its pricing strategy.