(Keywords: stretch knit fabric, Bamboo Fiber Textile)
Bob’s Discount Furniture, the East Coast retailer best known for its low-budget “dare to compare” television commercials, is being sued for alleged false advertising by Serta Simmons Bedding.
The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Chicago, alleges Bob’s took the comparison too far when it said its Black Label Gel mattresses had essentially the same components as Simmons’ Beautyrest Black mattresses, except for the “fancy logo” and the price.
One spot shows the mattresses side-by-side, lists similar features such as “gel-infused memory foam” and “luxurious stretch knit fabric,” and then sets them apart with Simmons’ “whopping” price of $2,799 versus $999 for the Bob’s version.
“Sure, they’re not exactly the same, but you be the judge,” Bob Kaufman, the chain’s founder and on-air spokesman announces in the commercial.
In its lawsuit, Atlanta-based Simmons said the ads “falsely and misleadingly imply” that both mattresses use the same materials and components.
“Due to the ongoing process we are unable to comment at this time,” Sean Flanagan, a spokesman for Bob’s, said Wednesday.
Nicole Murray, a Chicago-based attorney representing Simmons, also declined to comment Wednesday.
Simmons, which has been a leading mattress manufacturer for more than a century, says in the lawsuit that its Beautyrest Black mattresses include proprietary memory foam, patented pocketed coil technology and luxurious fabrics that are not used in the Bob’s version.
In 2013, Serta, Simmons’ Hoffman Estates sister company, sent Bob’s a demand letter over a commercial it claimed falsely compared memory foam in competing mattresses. Bob’s responded in that case by agreeing to pull the ad off the air.
Founded in 1991, Connecticut-based Bob’s expanded into the Chicago market last year and has 10 stores in the city and suburbs. Its arrival also unleashed the ubiquitous price comparison commercials, which often feature a yellow-shirted Kaufman, a “Little Bob” puppet and Cathy Poulin, the chain’s longtime public relations and outreach director, who serves as Bob’s on-air foil.
Private equity firm Bain Capital bought a majority stake in Bob’s in 2013. The furniture retailer has 81 stores in the East and Midwest.
The lawsuit alleges one count of false advertising and one count of deceptive trade practices, and it seeks an order directing Bob’s to “permanently remove the commercials” and an injunction preventing the chain from claiming, “directly or by implication,” that its mattresses have the same components or materials as Simmons’ mattresses.
Simmons also wants the court to order Bob’s to run advertising correcting “the false or misleading” claims it made.
In addition, Simmons is seeking a damages award to be determined at trial.
Source : https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-bobs-furniture-false-advertising-20170927-story.html