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BevMo Complaint On Total Wine Is Referred To FTC, But Total Says It’s Without Merit

January 31, 2017

The National Advertising Division, an industry self-regulatory group, has referred a complaint by liquor retailer BevMo against rival Total Wine & More to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The BevMo complaint disputes Total Wine’s advertising claims that its prices are lower than BevMo’s. Concord, California-based BevMo contends that Total Wine makes “unsupported price comparison claims using outdated BevMo prices and prices from BevMo stores that are well outside the geographically relevant market area.”

However, a Total Wine spokesman told SND that BevMo’s complaint is without merit. “Total Wine & More has been running ‘Paymo at Bevmo’ advertisements in California for a decade,” said the spokesman. “Our prices are simply lower than BevMo’s prices. It appears their newest management team objects to us recording the prices off their website, which is where we get them.”

The matter was referred to the FTC after Total Wine declined to participate in a proceeding before the NAD. The NAD is an ad industry self-regulating investigative unit that’s administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. —Peter Zwiebach

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