Lady Gaga has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over wristbands sold via her website that are supposed to raise funds for Japanese earthquake relief, according to E! Online.
Ari Kresch, a lawyer for 1-800-LAW-FIRM, which filed the lawsuit, says Gaga deceived people when she claimed "all proceeds" from the $5 bracelets that read "WE PRAY FOR JAPAN" would go directly to Japan relief efforts. "There's a $3.99 shipping charge including packaging that weighed less than an ounce, so paying a $3.99 service charge for making a $5 donation is excessive since most of that costs about 50 cents," Kresch said.
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But shipping charges aren't the extent of the grievances. "The first issue that came up was that there was a sales tax being charged on a charitable contribution," continues Kresch. "Then it came to our attention that ... not all of the money was going to charity."
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Other defendants in the case include Universal Music Group, House of Gaga Publishing and Live Nation Merchandising. The amount of compensatory and punitive damages sought is as yet unspecified. Possible refunds for bracelet-buyers are being sought.
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Gaga's rep, Holly Shakoor, has responded, calling the lawsuit "misguided."
"The entire $5 donation made with the purchase of each bracelet is going to support the disaster relief," she continues. "No profit is being made on shipping costs. Sales tax charges were made in accordance with local legal requirements. Lady Gaga has personally pledged her own funds to this cause and continues to support the victims of the disaster."
Gaga performed last week in Tokyo as part of further earthquake relief efforts.