Value Village rebuked by judge for deceiving consumers

The Value Village thrift store chain was rebuked by a King County judge for creating a “deceptive net impression” that shoppers making purchases were helping charity. The judge ruled Friday in a long-running legal battle about consumer protection between Value Village and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The ruling comes on the heels of Value Village’s announcement that it will close its last store in Seattle. Value Village maintained that it had never misled consumers.

Value Village: 1st Amendment shields us from state consumer-protection lawsuit

If you wanted to know how much Value Village is giving to charity from your donations, look no further than a graphic circulated on social media by the Washington Attorney General’s office. It reveals that the fancy piece of furniture you gave to the store’s donation center could be worth as little as 2 cents to the charity. That reality is far from the image the Bellevue-based chain has promoted, according to a lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. He accuses the nation’s largest for-profit thrift-store chain of misrepresenting to the public the charitable benefits of their donations and purchases. In response to the attorney general’s lawsuit, Value Village has claimed that what it tells its donors and customers is covered under the free-speech protections of the First Amendment, citing U.S. Supreme Court rulings that charitable fundraising is a form of free speech.