The red and white “We Pray For Japan” wristband (which includes the phrase in English and Japanese, along with Gaga’s signature monster claw symbol) is priced at $5 through the singer’s website. According to Gaga’s online store, all proceeds go directly to Japan relief efforts.
Reuters notes that Gaga has reportedly donated about $3 million to relief efforts through “sales of the wristbands and other ventures.”
On Friday 1-800-LAW-FIRM filed racketeer influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) charges against Lady Gaga and other companies associated with the sale and marketing of the wristbands.
The federal class action lawsuit accuses Gaga of keeping “a portion of the first five dollars of every donation” in addition to retaining a portion of the shipping charges by overcharging for shipping fees based on the weight of the wristbands.
The complaint adds that “consumers were taxed for their donations wrongfully, and the wrongfully levied taxes were not forwarded to the appropriate taxing authorities in the appropriate time frame.”
The lawsuit is also pointing a finger at Gaga for including the funds that were reportedly retained in the amount of total donations, therefore using the inflated figures to influence more fans to buy wristbands.
“While we commend Lady Gaga for her philanthropic efforts, we want to ensure that claims that ‘all proceeds will be donated to Japan’s earthquake relief efforts’ are in fact true,” 1-800-Law-Firm partner Alyson Oliver said in a statement. “Our intention with this lawsuit is to uncover any improprieties committed by Lady Gaga and appropriate the full donations assumed to the victims in Japan.”
The legal network is “seeking compensations, including consequential and special damages in amounts proved, as well as for statutory damages, including a return of all amounts paid for the products sold by defendants to the plaintiffs and the class members.”
As an example of the shipping and handling charges, the minimum charge (standard 7-10 business days) for a $5 wristband mailed to Fresno, Calif., will set you back $3.99 plus tax. If you’d like that wristband in just 5-7 business days, you’ll have to pay $11.76 in shipping and handling charges. Two-day and one-day shipping options are also available.
On Saturday Lady Gaga performed at a MTV Japan benefit show for the Japanese Red Cross. Two days before that she received a certificate from the commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency for her support to Japan. The singer also contributed a tune to the “Songs for Japan” charity album
To view the complaint and press release from 1-800-Law-Firm, click here for the legal network’s website.
Click here for Lady Gaga’s website and her online store.