Washington attorney general sues Value Village owners

SEATTLE — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a company that owns Value Village, saying the company has deceived thousands of Washington consumers and donors for more than a decade.

The suit, filed in King County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleges that TVI Inc., of Bellevue, has used deceptive marketing that led consumers and donors to believe that Value Village is a nonprofit or charity and that that all types of donations and purchases benefited charity.

“If a for-profit company asked you to donate your couch so it could donate zero dollars to charity, you might think twice and decide to donate your couch to an actual charitable organization,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Value Village made millions by deceiving consumers and donors.”

The lawsuit comes a week after the company pre-emptively filed its own suit against Ferguson, saying his office has violated the company’s rights by demanding $3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation. In its complaint, TVI said it had answered all of the investigators’ questions, provided 15,000 pages of documents, and sought to meet with the attorney general’s office to address any concerns. The complaint cited the imminent threat of litigation by the attorney general’s office, “necessitating this action to protect the First Amendment rights of TVI and its charity partners.”

Ferguson said that he also filed a motion to dismiss that counter lawsuit Wednesday.

TVI Inc. runs 330 stores worldwide and 20 Value Village stores in Washington state. Spokeswoman Sara Gaugl said that the company is still reviewing the details of the complaint, but in a written statement said that the company continues “to believe their actions are misguided.”

“We are fully compliant with all relevant Washington state laws and are confident this matter will be resolved in our favor,” she wrote.

“We stand by the position and facts established in our Complaint and are proud of our business and the positive impact we make across the state.”

The attorney general’s lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting Value Village from making misrepresentations to customers and donors, and also seeks a penalty of up to $2,000 per violation.

More in Business

ON THE WATERFRONT: Liberty Bay renamed Washington

EARLIER THIS WEEK Liberty Bay, a 790-foot crude oil tanker, moored to… Continue reading

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Makah Member selected as deputy director … and other items

Maryland’s Division of Environmental Health Services selected Makah Nation… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Luncheon meetings are usually Wednesdays at noon… Continue reading

Black Bear Diner gets Founder’s Award

Sequim’s Black Bear Diner now has bragging rights for restaurant… Continue reading

Expansion of Food Co-op to begin Monday in Port Townsend

A ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday celebrated an expansion of the… Continue reading

Super Saver Foods preparing for grand opening in Port Angeles

Crews are stocking Super Saver Foods shelves with groceries… Continue reading

Newspaper owner announces Alaska acquisitions

David Black, chairman and owner of Black Press, LTD… Continue reading

EYE ON BUSINESS: This week’s meetings

Monthly luncheon meetings are held… Continue reading

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Olympic Medical Center named a top 20 rural hospital … and other items

The National Rural Health Association named Olympic Medical Center… Continue reading

ON THE WATERFRONT: Cable Innovator visits Port Angeles

CABLE INNOVATOR, THE 476-foot cable layer, has been in Port Angeles for… Continue reading

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Flores-McCleese joins Washington Nonprofits board of directors … and other items

Washington Nonprofits recruited Port Townsend business owner Tina Flores-McCleese… Continue reading