Can you tell the difference between clothing from an outlet store versus retail?

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Retail Vs. Outlet Store Products: Can You Tell the Difference?


By TAK LANDROCK

DENVER - Many of us will bundle up Thanksgiving night and try and get the best black Friday deals this holiday season. Some will go to the traditional mall while other will venture to the Outlet Malls.

But a FOX31 Denver Investigation found you may not be getting the best bang for your buck when you shop at Outlet Stores. Before Outlet store allowed retailers to unload last season's goods or items with defects on thrifty shoppers, but this is no longer the deal for the majority of the stores today.

"Originally it was that way and now what they do they make product just for factory," one sales associate said on hidden camera.

According to fashion consultant Dahlia Weinstein when you shop at the Outlet stores you are getting what you pay for, meaning a cheaper product.

"A lot of these stores have their own factories, their own separate factories in order to produce clothes that are similar to what`s sold in the stores, but can be produced at a lesser price," she told FOX 31 Denver Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock.

She said many times there is a major difference in quality. We gave Weinstein purses from the Coach retail store and one from the Coach Outlet to see if she could tell the difference.

Instantly she was able to tell the leather from the outlet store was a lesser quality and the stitching wasn't as detailed as its retail counterpart. The same goes for a pair of women's pants and men's jeans we showed her.

Landrock asked Weinstein if the $70 price tag on the pair of jeans from the Outlet is deceptive, she said it is if it was never $70. The pricing at Outlet Malls has congressional leaders asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigative deceptive pricing.

In a letter to the secretary of the FTC, four lawmakers wrote, "It's a common practice at outlet stores to advertise a retail price alongside the outlet store price." It goes on saying, "Since the item was never sold in the regular retail store or at the retail price, the retail price is impossible to substantiate. "

Crazy lines from past Black Fridays:

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Can you tell the difference between clothing from an outlet store versus retail?
Consumers line ouside the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store, as consumers line on the early morning hours Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A Lifeguard model stands outside the front door of a Hollister Co. clothing store, as consumers line up on the early morning hours Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Best Buy #281 - The Night Before 'Black Friday'
Best Buy Manager Asad R. Ali (L) goes over the ground rules of camping out on the sidewalk with Brent Hart, 26 as he camps out with a tent in advance of Black Friday on the sidewalk of the Fair Lakes Best Buy store on November 23, 2011, in Fairfax, Virginia. He is fifth in line and plans on purchasing 'doorbuster' deals that include a 200-dollar 42 ich flat-screen TV and a 299-dollar 15.5 inch laptop at midnight Friday. Hart is a military contractor and leaves in December for Afganistan and wants the laptop to stay in touch with his family. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
apple store fifth avenue black friday
apple store fifth av
TROY, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Customers receive Wal-Mart sales circulars as they wait in line to enter the store Thanksgiving day on November 28, 2013 in Troy, Michigan. Black Friday shopping began early this year with most major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day as consumers took advantage of discounted prices to prepare for the holiday season. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Several thousand shoppers wait in line, some since Wednesday morning, to be the first in the Pembroke Pines, Fla. Best Buy, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 for bargains. Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, has crept into Thanksgiving Day. A number of stores from Wal-Mart to Target are opening their doors on Turkey Day, but will Americans be willing to put down the pumpkin pie in order to start their holiday shopping a little early. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Lina Munoz, right, of Union City, N.J., a Wal-Mart employee, stands on a counter to help customers at the Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, N.J., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Hundreds of people lined up to get into this Wal-Mart for the annual pre-dawn Black Friday bargain hunting. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
A man pulls a plastic bin full of purchased items at the Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, N.J., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Hundreds of people lined up to get into this Wal-Mart for the annual pre-dawn Black Friday bargain hunting. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
Cecilia Tuarez of Clifton, N.J., pushes a shopping cart filled with towels to the checkout line at a Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, N.J., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Hundreds of people lined up to get into this Wal-Mart for the annual pre-dawn Black Friday bargain hunting. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
Shoppers are asked to raise their arms to ease pushing as they come through the doors at a Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, N.J., shortly after 5:00 a.m., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Hundreds of people lined up to get into this Wal-Mart for the annual pre-dawn Black Friday bargain hunting. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
Shoppers run through the doors at a Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, N.J., shortly after 5:00 a.m., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Hundreds of people lined up to get into this Wal-Mart for the annual pre-dawn Black Friday bargain hunting. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
Shoppers use their smart phone with the Free Wi-Fi service, while waiting in line to pay for electronics at the Target store in Burbank, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Shoppers wait in line outdoors for doorbuster deals before the opening of the Target store in Burbank, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Shoppers wait on a check-out line in the Times Square Toys-R-Us store after doors were opened to the public at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, in New York. While stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, openings have crept earlier and earlier over the past few years. Now, stores from Wal-Mart to Toys R Us are opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Shoppers wait in line outside a Target store in Burbank, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. Black Friday began in earnest as Target, Abercrombie & Fitch and other stores opened their doors at midnight. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Early bird shoppers wait in line in the electronics department at the Target store in Mayfield Hts., Ohio in the early hours of Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Black Friday began in earnest as Target, Abercrombie & Fitch and other stores opened their doors at midnight. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2009 file photo, the line to check out winds through the store during the traditional Black Friday shopping day at the Target store in Mayfield Hts., Ohio. Retail sales rose more than expected in November, boosting hopes that the all-important consumer sector will support the fragile recovery.(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
Shoppers line up for a Black Friday sale at a Target Corp. store in Mentor, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. Retailers are pouring on the discounts to attract consumers grappling with 9 percent unemployment and a slower U.S. economic expansion than previously estimated. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shoppers wait in line to make purchases at a Super Target store in Thornton, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. Shoppers on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, are taking advantage of deals as they face down a slower economic recovery than projected. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tabitha Taormina, 13, lays on the ground while waiting in line for laptop computers at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2009. Shoppers gathered at Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and Toys 'R' Us Inc. stores from New Jersey to Texas well before midnight yesterday to take advantage of Black Friday deals on televisions, laptops and robot hamsters. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 27: Shopper Trey Hoffman tries to get some rest while waiting in line for the 5 a.m. opening of a Target store on November 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. Many shoppers waited in line for hours for the chance to snatch up limited quantity specials that the store was offering. According to the National Retail Federation, a trade organization, as many as 134 million people, 4.7% more than last year, will shop over the next three days. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI - NOVEMBER 28: Holiday shoppers race around for gifts after braving the cold temperatures out side of Target as they start the traditional holiday shopping season November 28, 2008 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The day after Thanksgiving is typically the busiest shopping day of the year and traditionally a indicator of the economy and how the holiday shopping season will go. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
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But as a consumer you can tell the difference between retail products and outlet mall products.

At Banana Republic, specifically made for its outlet stores you will find two diamonds on the label. J Crew and Ann Taylor also use diamonds on the label for outlet products.

On Coach Bags, the outlet product will read "Est. 1941: under the logo while the higher end bags will have "New York" printed on the price tag.

"I would suggest people go to the retail stores look around see what you like see what you`re drawn to and then go to the outlet stores and see if there`s anything similar and compare the prices and ask yourself is it worth it for me to buy the original or is it worth it for me to buy the knock off," Weinstein said.

If you like the less expensive outlet version, buy it. But know you're really not getting a bargain.

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