Best Buy accuses Walmart of hurting holiday iPhone 5 sales

By , Jan 4, 2013

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Get ready to rumble! Best Buy, a gadget retailer that sells more iPhones than anyone but Apple, is charging the world’s biggest retailer Walmart with unfairly pricing the iPhone 5 during holiday.

A number of states’ attorney generals are looking into the allegation. Best Buy says it lost $65,000 a day trying to match the $150 price (later cut to $127) Walmart promoted in December.

The electronics retailer charges Walmart didn’t have sufficient supplies to fulfill its holiday promotion of the regularly-priced $199 smartphone…

Naturally, Walmart denies all charges, telling the Wall Street Journal (via AppleInsider) that the Best Buy allegations are just sour grapes. Indeed, when the iPhone 5 first became available, we reported that Best Buy had trouble keeping the iPhone 5 in stock.

However, this isn’t the first time Walmart has marked down prices on the iPhone, including the iPhone 4S.

In order to attract iPhone buyers, the world’s largest retailer offered a series of discounts on the Apple handset, like the December 17 iPhone 5 for $127 (later beaten by Fry’s at $126). The retailer also offered a promotion on the 16GB iPhone 4S for $125 in August, just days after selling the 16GB 4S for $148.

In a sign of how sensitive Walmart is to pricing complaints, in 2012, the Arkansas-based company quickly corrected a report that its stores were offering the iPhone 4S at ridiculously low prices. It was later discovered that the low prices were a mistake limited to just a handful of Walmart locations.

It is unclear whether Best Buy’s bad feelings will lead anywhere.

Walmart has a reputation for attracting customers with very low prices, something which irks competitors who don’t have Walmart’s buying power.

Where do you come down on this? Does Best Buy have a case?

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  • AlukaRulz

    best buy has marked down prices thanks for telling me

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.higgins.12 Brandon Higgins

    A retailer has all the rights to mark its prices. They just might not make money from the low price. Just like lawn service or any other product/service your getting the same thing just a better price and if the other doesn’t like it then they can mark down their price to compete or try more promotions.

    • cschug

      The point Best Buy is making is that Walmart had no stock of the phone they were advertising, therefore artificially inflating their foot traffic without actually having to sell the iPhone at a loss. Plus BB price matches everyone on phones so they were taking losses…at least while they were still price matching. We only matched for a while until my manager found out none of the Walmart’s in our area had any in stock. I’m not necessarily bagging on Walmart, but this isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    best buy is stupid if they think they can compete with walmart

  • Nick Darpino

    Let the market determine the price not some court. Enough litigation!!

    • MagicDrumSticks

      You clearly don’t understand how a capitalist economy works so I would be quiet now

      • bw00ds

        Actually, Nick is correct. Not sure where you are coming from. (Clue: capitalist economies are not generated by law suits, but from supply and demand.)

      • MagicDrumSticks

        Ever hear of price ceilings and floors? Without such implementation, you can be sure that our phones and carrier rates would become astronomically high

  • Omar

    I call BS. When I went to Best Buy to get a 99$ smartphone that I just bought to get a Galaxy S2, they said that The only way that they could pricematch Walmart was if Walmart had at least one in stock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angelofchit May T. Win

    I bought mine @ best buy. Noway that i would waste the time in Walmart for $23 discount. Walmart employees couldn’t even check the price on prepaid phones right.

  • Bill Hollister

    My wife and I both upgraded to iPhone 5′s at Best Buy and they matched Fry’s $126 price. Can’t beat that!

  • cschug

    I work at Best Buy Mobile, and none of the Walmart’s in our city had a single iPhone 5 in stock. We were told to stop matching the price at that point. I’m not saying Best Buy is perfect, but Walmart does this with phones. They just want to get your ass in the door so you’ll buy something else.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      What makes you so sure they didn’t already “sell out” due to their less greedy prices?

    • http://twitter.com/PhilBeez86 U Kn0w What 1t 1s

      I bought 4 iP5′s from Walmart!!! Hahahaha! $127, and they had plenty in stock! but I also over payed for my first one in which I payed 327 after tax for my 32gig from AT&T. Patience is a virtue.

  • http://twitter.com/shane_e46 Shane Sepeda

    And I bought my 16gb at Verizon for $250 after tax and activation, a week before this sale.

    I feel stupid.

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Hahaha, fukn WorstBuy, suing the “less greedy” for attracting more customers….how Crapplish of them. What did they expect; higher price tags mean more customers?

  • Junior

    I work at SAMs club in the cellphone department.. We also have the iPhone 5 for 127.00