Think You Saved at Harbor Freight? You’ll Think Again After Reading This

When is a sale not really a sale? When the prices listed on the shelf are just a pile of malarkey. (Allegedly.)

Harbor Freight, which sells “Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices,” is under fire for allegedly manufacturing some of those low prices.

The tool warehouse is settling a class-action lawsuit claiming it advertised items as on sale when those sale prices didn’t reflect a legitimate discount.

Why Harbor Freight Sale Prices Weren’t Legit

The sale tags compared customer savings to prices that had not been in place for at least 28 of the prior 90 days, according to the settlement.

The suit also affects items marked with “compare at” notes to highlight customer savings compared to other stores. Similarly, Harbor Freight hadn’t listed those items at the regular price for long enough before applying the “discount.”

Harbor Freight maintains it followed the law.

The settlement received preliminary approval Dec. 15, 2016, but the final settlement approval hearing won’t take place until July 7, 2017. You have until Aug. 7, 2017 to file your claim.

What You Can Expect if You File a Claim?

If you shopped at Harbor Freight between April 8, 2011 and Dec. 15, 2016, you may be eligible for a refund of a portion of your bill. There are three claim groups:

Group A: You have an itemized receipt from Harbor Freight that says “You saved __” for purchases made during the eligibility period. You can choose to receive a percentage of the “You saved” amount listed on your receipt(s). Want cash? You’ll get 20% of that “saved” amount; choose a Harbor Freight gift card to get 30% of that amount.

Group B: You have a credit or debit card statement proving you shopped at Harbor Freight during the eligibility period. You’ll receive 10% of the total purchase if you choose a cash settlement. Choose a Harbor Freight gift card and get 12% of the total.

Group C: You know you shopped at Harbor Freight during the eligibility period, but you don’t have proof. Submit a signed declaration that you were affected to receive a $10 Harbor Freight gift card.

It is possible to be a member of both Group A and Group B, but if you’re in Group C, that’s the only claim you can file.

Why Comparison Shopping is Worth Your Time

Harbor Freight is far from the first retailer facing criticism for allegedly manufacturing its amazing prices.

Kohl’s, Macy’s, Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx, J.C. Penney and Nordstrom Rack have all faced lawsuits for offering phony “deals.”

A Consumer Watchdog report recently claimed that Amazon inflated crossed-out list prices to highlight how much users would save using the online shopping giant.

And outlet stores, well, a lot of those have been a total sham for a while.

Want to make sure you’re getting a real deal? Compare prices over the course of a few days (or weeks, if you can bear it) at several retailers before taking the plunge on a big purchase. And if it sounds too good to be true… yep. You know how this advice ends.

Your Turn: Do you shop at Harbor Freight? Will you be filing a claim?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.