NAD Recommends Toys ‘R’ Us Modify or Discontinue Price-Matching Claim on In-Store Banners

New York, NY – Feb. 28, 2013 – The National Advertising Division recommended that Toys “R” Us modify or discontinue the overly broad price-matching claim, “Price Match Guarantee—Spot a lower advertised price? We’ll match it. See a Team Member for details”

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD reviewed the claim – which appeared on in-store banners – following a consumer complaint. The consumer reported that he had attempted to purchase a game at Toy “R” Us for the same lower price offered online by a Toys “R” Us competitor. He asserted that two Toys “R” Us employees informed him Toys “R” Us only matches prices against Best Buy and the Toys “R” Us website, www.toysrus.com.

Upon NAD’s initial inquiry, the advertiser said the consumer had been misinformed. Toys “R” Us does match prices its competitor’s print ads, but does not match online pricing, with the exception of the prices posted at Toysrus.com and online pricing of certain competitors for baby gear.

NAD observed that even consumers who understand that certain limitations and restrictions may apply to a price-matching offer would not expect the Toys “R” Us Price-Matching Program to exclude online pricing for competitive toys.

NAD concluded that the disclosure – “[s]ee a Team Member for details” – only to be told that the price-matching guarantee does not apply to prices found online, directly contradicts the main message conveyed by a toy store banner reading, “Price Match Guarantee – Spot a lower advertised price? We’ll match it.”

NAD acknowledged that in-store banners may have limited space, but determined that the claim at issue was overbroad. NAD recommended the advertiser either discontinue the price-matching claim, or modify the claim to more accurately describe that the price-match guarantee for toys applies to competitors’ print advertisements.

Toys “R” Us, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company appreciated NAD’s “careful consideration of the issues and evidence presented in connection with this Inquiry” and would take NAD’s recommendations into account in “reviewing current and future advertising.”