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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Buy.com Will Pay $575,000 to Settle Bait-and-Switch Suit

October 18, 2000|Robin Fields

Internet superstore Buy.com Inc. will pay $575,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit filed last year by consumers who accused the Aliso Viejo company of bait-and-switch tactics, company officials said Tuesday.

Under the terms of the agreement, about 7,000 customers would receive about $50 each in cash. The rest of the money would cover legal fees and court costs.

Buy.com admitted no wrongdoing, saying it had settled to avoid escalating litigation expenses.

The case is one of several moving through the courts that seek to determine online stores' obligations to consumers when pricing errors occur on Web sites.

Last February, Buy.com's Web site mistakenly listed the Hitachi SuperScan 753 on sale for $164.50 when, at the time, the product retailed for $588. Orders flooded in. Buy.com honored the price for the 143 monitors it had in stock but canceled thousands of other orders.

The company said it had made a simple mistake, but an irate group of customers accused it of fraud and negligence.

The settlement is expected to be approved by a Superior Court judge in December.

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