(WFLX) - Coach, Kate Spade, Tory Burch. They're high-end brands with prices to match unless you're willing to make the haul to an outlet mall.
"They do markdowns like 60 to 65 percent. Some of the same stuff," says outlet shopper Rose Norris. Same brand names maybe.
Clothing designer David Peck says these days, outlet store merchandise is very different. "Now, most of the clothing that you find in outlets is made just for the outlets. It's usually not as good of quality."
Guess, Ann Taylor, Coach, Banana Republic and countless other retailers: Most products sold in their outlet stores were never sold in their regular retail stores.
So, are these retailers making knock-offs of their own products? Clothing designer David Dang says yes. "In order to actually achieve the price point, you really do have to alter the garment a little bit."
They do that with less expensive zippers and hardware. But the problem comes when retailers try to pass off these lower quality goods as seconds from their high-end stores.
Earlier this year, four lawmakers asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate pricing practices at outlet stores. They claimed retailers make the cheaper outlet goods, but attach high-price tag before discounting them [60 percent off] to make customers believe they're really getting a bargain.