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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.

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.