Best Buy Co. and Toys R Us Inc. have filed complaints alleging that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. deceived consumers in price comparison advertisements.
The ads aired from late November to mid-December, according to Toys R Us.
Sales in November and December account for 20 to 40 percent of U.S. retailers’ annual revenue, according to the National Retail Federation, a Washington-based trade group.
Best Buy lost “tens of thousands of dollars” because of the ads, according to spokeswoman Amy von Walter, who said the company has complained to attorneys general in Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.
Toys R Us has provided multiple state attorneys general with evidence of what it called “deceptive advertising practices that mislead consumers regarding specific product pricing comparisons,” said Kathleen Waugh, vice president of corporate communications for Toys R Us. The complaints were reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, followed “all local, state and federal rules and regulations,” Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said in a statement. “We know competitors don’t like it when we tell customers to compare prices and see for themselves but we think consumers deserve every chance to find value.”
He pointed to a statement on the Federal Trade Commission’s website: “Comparative advertising, when truthful and non-deceptive, is a source of important information to consumers and assists ... in making rational purchase decisions.”
Restivo said the ads “are supported by a rigorous internal process to help ensure accuracy, which includes legal review and oversight as well as documentation ... about quantities and pricing.”