SAN DIEGO — The San Diego city attorney's office has fined a store specializing in the sale of women's undergarments more than $100,000 because of a fraudulent gift-certificate program.
Deputy City Atty. Tricia Johnson said Victoria's Secret Stores Inc. offered "free" $10 gift certificates that were actually discount coupons requiring a purchase of at least $50.
Johnson said Friday that the city's Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit acted on a complaint from a San Diego woman who tried to cash in such a certificate but discovered she had to buy $50 worth of merchandise to have the price reduced by $10.
"The position we took is that the public has come to understand a gift certificate to mean a piece of paper worth what the dollar figure says it is," Johnson said.
The city's complaint alleged that 55 Victoria's Secret stores in California engaged in an "untrue or misleading" advertising campaign.
The company agreed Friday to pay $105,078 in penalties and costs without admitting any wrongdoing.