Outside Business Journal

Bass Pro Shops Sued for $5 Million—Over Socks

The company is accused of not honoring its lifetime warranty on a brand of socks

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A Missouri man is hoping to sock it to Bass Pro Shops to the tune of $5 million over the company’s lifetime warranty—or lack of it—on its RedHead Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Wool Socks.

Kent Slaughter filed a class action lawsuit earlier this month, alleging that Bass Pro Shops has refused to honor its lifetime warranty on worn-out RedHead socks that Slaughter brought into the retailer’s Springfield, Missouri, store for exchange. Slaughter filed the suit with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, seeking $5 million in damages for himself and other customers who join the effort. Slaughter is represented by Singleton Schneider, LLP, which is based in Sacramento, California.

“This lawsuit is about one simple principle: a corporation’s obligation to tell consumers the truth,” Singleton Schneider partner Andrew Bluth wrote to OBJ in an email. “Bass Pro Shop made a promise to its customers when it offered its RedHead socks with a lifetime guarantee. Those words should mean something. Especially today, when consumers are facing skyrocketing prices on even the most basic of necessities, it is critical that businesses act with integrity. On behalf of Mr. Slaughter and thousands of Bass Pro Shop customers nationwide, we look forward to holding Bass Pro Shops accountable through the judicial process.”

Bass Pro Shops, Inc. told OBJ that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Bass Pro’s RedHead Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Wool Socks sell for $11.99. Their description on the retailer’s website reads, “These socks are backed by our Lifetime Guarantee. If ever they wear out, just return them for a FREE replacement!…Lifetime guarantee—if they wear out, they get replaced!”

In the class action complaint filed July 8, Slaughter alleges that he and other Bass Pro Shops customers have been defrauded and “harmed by [the] defendant’s fraudulent misrepresentations and false advertising.” The suit states that at several times between 2014 and 2021, Slaughter purchased approximately 12 different pairs of the RedHead socks from the Bass Pro superstore in Springfield, Missouri, and that the advertised Lifetime Warranty of the socks was a central reason for the purchases.

Between 2015 and 2020, Slaughter began returning worn out socks to the store. Those pairs were exchanged for new ones without incident until January 2021, when Slaughter attempted to exchange four pairs of socks at once. He says that, at that time, a clerk declined to assist with the exchange and instead referred him to the customer service department. There, he was told that he could no longer exchange the socks for new ones from the same brand. He was offered an alternative: an exchange for a different sock that carries a 60-day warranty.

Later, in June 2022, Slaughter purchased a pair of the RedHead socks online, which he claims were advertised with the same lifetime warranty at the time of purchase. When they arrived, however, Slaughter says the product he received did not include any mention of the warranty on its packaging or paperwork. 

Slaughter’s lawsuit explicitly invites other RedHead sock customers to join the effort: “Like Plaintiff, all Class Members purchased the Socks with the understanding that the Lifetime Warranty meant that the Socks could be replaced at any time during the time that each Class Member owned the Socks, and that such understanding was reasonable and was a material basis for the decision to purchase the Socks, which Defendant intended to foster through its various marketing activities in connection with the sale of the Socks.”

The lawsuit states that, in addition to monetary compensation, the plaintiffs are seeking answers to various questions, including whether Bass Pro Shops engaged in false or misleading advertising, unlawful business practices, or benefited from unlawful business conduct. The suit further states that Slaughter and other RedHead sock customers have sustained economic injury and that, given the relatively small amount of damages at stake for any of the individual class members, individual litigation is not practicable, hence the class action suit.

A court date has not yet been assigned.

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