DENVER -- Many of us will bundle up Thanksgiving night and try and get the best black Friday deals this holiday season. Some will go to the traditional mall while other will venture to the Outlet Malls.
But a FOX31 Denver Investigation found you may not be getting the best bang for your buck when you shop at Outlet Stores. Before Outlet store allowed retailers to unload last season’s goods or items with defects on thrifty shoppers, but this is no longer the deal for the majority of the stores today.
"Originally it was that way and now what they do they make product just for factory," one sales associate said on hidden camera.
According to fashion consultant Dahlia Weinstein when you shop at the Outlet stores you are getting what you pay for, meaning a cheaper product.
“A lot of these stores have their own factories, their own separate factories in order to produce clothes that are similar to what`s sold in the stores, but can be produced at a lesser price,” she told FOX 31 Denver Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock.
She said many times there is a major difference in quality. We gave Weinstein purses from the Coach retail store and one from the Coach Outlet to see if she could tell the difference.
Instantly she was able to tell the leather from the outlet store was a lesser quality and the stitching wasn’t as detailed as its retail counterpart. The same goes for a pair of women’s pants and men’s jeans we showed her.
Landrock asked Weinstein if the $70 price tag on the pair of jeans from the Outlet is deceptive, she said it is if it was never $70. The pricing at Outlet Malls has congressional leaders asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigative deceptive pricing.
In a letter to the secretary of the FTC, four lawmakers wrote, “It’s a common practice at outlet stores to advertise a retail price alongside the outlet store price.” It goes on saying, “Since the item was never sold in the regular retail store or at the retail price, the retail price is impossible to substantiate. “
But as a consumer you can tell the difference between retail products and outlet mall products.
At Banana Republic, specifically made for its outlet stores you will find two diamonds on the label. J Crew and Ann Taylor also use diamonds on the label for outlet products.
On Coach Bags, the outlet product will read “Est. 1941: under the logo while the higher end bags will have “New York” printed on the price tag.
“I would suggest people go to the retail stores look around see what you like see what you`re drawn to and then go to the outlet stores and see if there`s anything similar and compare the prices and ask yourself is it worth it for me to buy the original or is it worth it for me to buy the knock off,” Weinstein said.
If you like the less expensive outlet version, buy it. But know you’re really not getting a bargain.