The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Best Buy and several other retailers are quite unhappy with a Walmart advertising campaign that claims that the discount store chain has lower prices than the stores targeted in their ads.
This came to a head over the holidays, when Walmart ran ads on Facebook showing an advertised price for an iPhone 5 of just US$127. At the time, Best Buy was selling the same iPhone 5 configuration with a two-year contract for $149.99. The result? Best Buy had to drop prices to meet its price-match guarantee, and lost about $65,000 in profits on the first day the Walmart promotion ran.
Best Buy also alleges that Walmart didn't have sufficient iPhones on hand for customers. Walmart replied to the allegations, saying that they were "98 percent in stock at stores that carried the devices." The company declined to tell the WSJ how many iPhone 5s it had in stores during the promotion.
Another complaint by Best Buy notes that a holiday Walmart ad claimed a Dell laptop was $251 more at Best Buy, when the two laptops compared were actually different models. Best Buy general counsel Keith Nelsen, writing to the Florida attorney general's office, said, "That would be like comparing a Toyota to a Lexus."
Whether attorneys general in a number of states decide to follow up on the allegations is unknown.