OKLAHOMA CITY – If you’ve taken advantage of a “Black Friday” sale sometime in the past 72 years, you may have been part of an illegal transaction.
“Black Friday and other low-priced sales in the state of Oklahoma are absolutely and unquestionably illegal,” Sen. David Holt (R – Oklahoma City) said.
He is referring to a state law from 1941.
It states a retailer can be arrested or sued if they don’t sell products for at least 6 percent more than what they paid for it.
Holt said Walmart starting abiding by that obscure law during Black Friday last year when they advertised a 32″ LCD TV for $210 in Oklahoma but that same TV was sold in other states for only $148.
So Holt has authored Senate Bill 550, which would make Black Friday, Back To School, and other big sales legal in Oklahoma.
“If somebody wants to sell you a 70-inch television for $50 on Black Friday, they ought to be able to do that,” Holt said. “That’s good for consumers. That’s good for retailers. It’s good for the economy.”
Holt said an Oklahoma attorney general decision two years ago confirmed this state law bars certain low-price sales.
Steve’s Wholesale Tools has really good sales from time to time.
But little did they know, they were breaking the law.
“I’ve been here for 27 years,” Manager Mike Bergstrasser said. “I have not one time ever been confronted by somebody saying ‘you’re breaking the law.'”
Bergstrasser said he was floored to learn his store was doing something illegal when they recently sold sporting knives for only 30 cents.
He said SB 550 will help protect Oklahoma’s businesses.
“Hate to think somebody would go a few miles down the road, just to go across the Texas line to buy TVs or something like that just to save a couple of bucks,” he said.
Sen. Holt said Dillards, Walmart and Safeway are just some of the companies who have been sued under the current law.
The bill would continue to protect retailers from “predatory pricing” that can lead to unfair competition.
The bill does not affect the fuel and prescription drug industry.