I'm a sucker for a sale. But in retail, especially with clothing, it's so hard to know when a deal is a deal.

The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, is hearing a case alleging that Kohl's advertises clothing at half price, even though there never was a full price to begin with. It's entirely possible a class action may result from this.

This is not a pick on Kohl's moment for me. I'll readily tell you the retailer does a wonderful job of merchandising and has great store layouts.

But people get mesmerized by the word 'sale' at retailers of all different kinds. The question becomes, is a 'sale' really a deal or not?

A lot of merchandise sold in the gift departments of stores is brought in specifically to be sale merchandise. It's not normally stocked by the retailer. It's brought in with a price marked on it that is then marked off 60 or 70 percent.

That's not a real sale. You have to know the quality and even the brand of what you're buying before you get suckered in.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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