BevMo!, the privately-held wine and spirits retailer based in California, is the subject of a class-action lawsuit that claims the company engaged in a bait-and-switch pricing strategy, drawing in customers with prices for wine produced during specific years that were not available in its approximately 150 stores.
To investigate consumer claims of deception by BevMo!, a hidden camera crew from CBS Los Angeles followed one customer Nicole Rodriguez-Gasperov, into a BevMo! location. Several times, Rodriguez-Gasperov found that store labels did not match the labels on the bottle.
“It says 2013 on the red BevMo! tag but the bottle is 2014 and I would never have caught that,” she told a hidden camera during the investigation. Another bottle, labeled “Malbec Mendoza 2012” by BevMo!, was actually a 2013 bottle, meaning that the price on the tag did not apply to the actual bottle.
After inspecting four additional BevMo! stores, CBS LA found the same misleading labeling strategy in each — price labels for years of wine that were not available for sale. The company even mislabels bottles online, so that customers who purchase bottles from the Internet do not receive the vintages they paid for.
“We’re suing BevMo because BevMo is engaging in an intentional, systemic, bait-and-switch fraud throughout the state of California,” Scott Glovsky, the case attorney, told CBS LA. “And then ultimately when people go to buy the wine, the wine sitting on the shelf behind those signs is a different wine. It’s a different vintage and so essentially it’s a bait-and-switch.”