Consumers and retailers have filed three proposed class action lawsuits against Energizer and Walmart, alleging that they conspired to increase the prices of disposable batteries.
Energizer is facing complaints alleging that they agreed, under pressure from Walmart, to increase wholesale battery prices for other retailers beginning in January 2018 and enforce a policy prohibiting those retailers from undercutting Walmart’s prices.
Energizer, the largest U.S. disposable battery maker, reportedly warned Walmart’s competitors of potential consequences if they sold their products for lower prices at checkout than Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.
According to the complaints, Energizer and Berkshire Hathaway-owned Duracell, who dominate the disposable battery market with an 85 percent share, raised their prices beyond what could be explained by inflation or changes in demand.
Energizer aimed to regain sales lost in 2013 after Walmart terminated its exclusive battery contract with Sam’s Club. To achieve this, Project Atlas was created to ensure that Walmart’s prices remained the lowest. The complaints stated these facts.
Walmart said it takes “allegations like this seriously and will respond in court as appropriate,” in a statement to Reuters. Energizer did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday. Duracell is not a defendant.