Big 5 Accused of Selling Knockoff Rackets

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Big 5 sporting goods sold outdated, “materially inferior knockoff” tennis rackets “under the guise” that they were discounted, high-quality state-of-the-art rackets, a class action claims in Superior Court. Some of the knockoffs allegedly were made by the brand name company itself.

     Plaintiffs claim Big 5 sold old rackets made by Wilson, Prince Sports, and Head N.V. by marketing them as new and top quality.
     They claim that Wilson itself makes inferior knockoffs of its own “top quality” rackets, including its “encode” or “n series” rackets, and that “the inferior quality rackets sold by Big 5 are labeled under the same series and brand names as Wilson’s higher quality rackets and are virtually indistinguishable from the higher quality rackets from a visual standpoint. However, there is no disclosure on the inferior quality version to let consumers know that it is a lesser quality racket than the higher-quality version sold by Wilson’s authorized dealers.”
     Big 5 is not an authorized dealer for Wilson and does not sell top quality rackets made by Prince or Head, according to the complaint.
     The class claims Big 5 sold knockoffs as though they were high-class rackets marked down from $300 to $49. But the rackets were many years and generations old and worth nowhere near the prices Big 5 claimed for them, the complaint states.
     Big 5 has more than 300 outlets in 11 Western states.
     Named plaintiff Michael Kelly says that if he had known what he was actually buying, he would not have bought it.
     He seeks damages for unfair business practices, fraud and false advertising. He is represented by Derek Emge.

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