January 4, 2013
In December, Walmart began offering fantastic deals on the iPhone 5 and other Apple products just in time for the holidays. Now, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and other competitors are accusing the largest retailer in the U.S. of running misleading ads that hurt their businesses, according to The Wall Street Journal. The main complaint, which is to be filed with attorneys general in more than half a dozen states, is that Walmart heavily discounted products in their ads that they actually didn’t have in stock. But, because the company's competitors offer price-match guarantees, they had no choice but to match these prices and thereby lost money. For example, Best Buy believes that they lost $65,000 on the day that Walmart dropped the price of the 16GB iPhone 5 to $150 because of the price-match guarantee. For their part, Walmart claims that 98 percent of their stores were stocked with iPhones when the promotion, first advertised through Facebook ran. Walmart is also being accused of advertising inaccurate competitor prices, and making comparisons between different products. This, according to Keith Nelsen, Best Buy’s general counsel, would be “like comparing a Toyota to a Lexus.” The complaints target Walmart in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. On Dec. 14, AppAdvice reported that Walmart was selling the 16GB iPhone 5 for just $127, while the iPhone 4S went for just $47. At the time, the 16GB iPad 3 sold for $399.