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Best Buy accuses Walmart of misleading, damaging holiday iPhone 5 sale

Best Buy and other retailers have complained to attorneys general in numerous states, accusing Walmart of misleading advertising in the holiday shopping season, including a discount on Apple's iPhone 5.

Joining Best Buy were Toys R Us and a number of regional supermarket chains in accusing Walmart of inaccurate prices and false advertising, according to The Wall Street Journal. In particular, Best Buy was bothered by a sale in which Walmart sold Apple's 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 for $150, or nearly $50 off its regular $199 price.

Best Buy has reportedly claimed it lost about $65,000 in profit on the day Walmart advertised its iPhone 5 promotion on Facebook. Best Buy says it was forced to match Walmart's advertised price, even though the retailer claims Walmart did not have enough iPhone 5 inventory to meet demand.

For its part, Walmart has claimed its stores were 98 percent in stock of the iPhone when the promotion ran.

iPhone 5


Beyond the iPhone 5, Best Buy also alleges that Walmart unfairly compared two different Dell laptop models in a holiday ad. According to Best Buy, Walmart showed off a more expensive Dell laptop model and claimed it cost an additional $251 at Best Buy. Walmart denies the claims.

Toys R Us also complained about a number of Walmart sales, including a toy kitchen set from Fischer Price, a Barbie doll from Mattel, and a Razor kick scooter.

Walmart has routinely offered discounts on the Apple products it carries, including the iPhone. America's largest retailer is known for relying on low-margin, high-volume sales, and also for pushing "loss leader" promotions that bring customers into stores and squeeze out competitors.