Rivals Protest Wal-Mart’s ‘Phony’ Price Comparisons

by Nate Wooley | January 4, 2013 12:40 pm

walmart store 300x180 Rivals Protest Wal Mart's 'Phony' Price Comparisons[1]Several stores that compete with retail giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT[2]) are complaining about the chain’s new ad campaign.

At issue is Wal-Mart’s direct comparisons of prices on specific goods and at specific retailers, The Wall Street Journal reports[3]. Both Toys ‘R’ Us and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY[4]) have lodged complaints with attorneys general in several states about the campaign.

An example of Best Buy’s complaint concerns a Dell (NASDAQ:DELL[5]) laptop that both it and Wal-Mart sell. The latter advertised that the laptop was $251 cheaper at its stores. Best Buy argues that the two laptops aren’t identical and that Wal-Mart cherry-picked a computer from Best Buy that looked the same but had different specifications, and was therefore more expensive.

Toys ‘R’ Us complains that in the ads, the Bentonville-based retailer cited inaccurate prices for several products, including a toy kitchen and a scooter.

This isn’t the first time Wal-Mart has faced these sorts of complaints. In 1994, it settled a case with the Michigan attorney general. While not admitting guilt, the firm agreed to stop comparing products that weren’t the same size or model.

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Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/walmart-store.jpg
  2. WMT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=WMT
  3. The Wall Street Journal reports: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323689604578219703156296568.html
  4. BBY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BBY
  5. DELL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=DELL
  6. Gap to Buy Luxury Fashion Retailer: http://investorplace.com/2013/01/gap-to-buy-luxury-fashion-retailer/
  7. Amazon to Start Charging Sales Tax in Mass.: http://investorplace.com/2012/12/amazon-to-start-charging-sales-tax-in-mass/
  8. Retailer in Hot Water Over NYC Beggar-Inspired Wallet: http://investorplace.com/2012/12/retailer-in-hot-water-over-nyc-beggar-inspired-wallet/

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