Walmart Canada – Update


Hi guys

Thanks for all the invaluable ideas and suggestions! I appreciate all your help. Sorry I couldn’t respond to individual comments but I did take the time to read each and every one.

First of all, as most of you suggested I removed the blog post in question and deleted the image and pdf file.

Regarding the idea of boycotting Walmart, I really don’t think it will make any difference. Walmart is huge and to them we’re like a needle in a haystack. If we completely stop talking about them we’d also be doing exactly what they wanted to do, shutting us up. I think I will be talking about Walmart more! I’ll post Walmart deals and reviews on here whether they are good or bad and will show them that they can’t shut me up. I will also start a new subsection dedicated to people freely talking about Walmart.

If you want to help out, please write an email to Amy Wyatt, PR and Brand Reputation Manager at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. telling her about how we were accused of fraud and phishing when all we were doing was helping out Walmart and giving them free advertising!

[email protected]

As for the letter to the lawyer, I used the suggestions from your comments and wrote the following. I’ll email it to Scott tonight once I get your feedback on it.

Hi Scott,

Smart Canucks deeply apologizes for the misunderstanding that has occurred. Smart Canucks is simply a website where users inform each other of great shopping deals around Canada. Since users are able to upload images Smart Canucks has never, and will not claim responsibility for images. We do however do our best to ensure everything on our website is completely 100% legal and we try our best to remove any images on the website that are trademarked to Walmart.

To comply with your demand the blog post in question has been removed and all members informed of the misfortune. That deal was however a legitimate Walmart / P&G promo that was held in January of 2009.

Furthermore for your future knowledge, know that Smart Canucks does NOT carry out any kind of phishing or credit fraud and does NOT collect personal information for misleading purposes and fraud.

Please also note that Walmart Canada’s marketing has contacted us about the possibility of advertising on SmartCanucks.ca because they have realized the free advertising that Walmart gets through SmartCanucks.ca.

Regards,


63 responses to “Walmart Canada – Update”

  1. mimo says:

    good but do you really have to say “deeply apologizes” ? can’t you instead just say there “was a misunderstanding” or any other word because i highly believe that the word “apologize” is only used if somenone did a mistake/error and Boo you did’t..thats my opinion..anyways good luck!

  2. SnEMum says:

    I think you did the right thing. I’m in support of the stance you are taking.

  3. Tara says:

    Sounds good to me. My jaw dropped upon intitally reading about this whole hoopla. Sounds rather obsurd… but okay. I now am VERY anxious to read a reply from this letter. 🙂 Well done! And thanks for all you do for us SCers!! You are fantastic!

  4. lilad says:

    Can we ban “Alex” from the site for good measure? 😉

  5. night_star says:

    Sounds good to me

    And I love that last paragraph!

  6. Smore says:

    “Regarding the idea of boycotting Walmart, I really don’t think it will make any difference. Walmart is huge and to them we’re like a needle in a haystack.” At least it would be a start!

    This is precisely the reason that companies like WalMart continue to thrive because each individual thinks ‘just one person won’t make a difference’. This is a very complacent and irresponsible way to think.

    I for one am going to make sure that I spend my money in a place that I don’t feel bullied by!

  7. SpeedyTrini says:

    great response!
    very professional!

    i am sure this story will hit the media.

  8. Boo Radley says:

    Smore,

    I think having a section dedicated to people expressing themselves and talking freely about Walmart is more useful than boycotting them. Trust me boycotting won’t work. We tried that 2 years ago with Shoppers Drug Mart and it didn’t work. And shoppers is a thousand times smaller than Walmart!

  9. Nelly says:

    Boo, it’s great to see that you have written such a rational letter in response to the one Scott sent you. Hopefully, this will be the end of it and Walmart will realize that they have made a mistake.

    As for boycotting Walmart, I think it’s fine for individuals to do so if it makes them feel better about the values they are upholding, as long as they don’t expect their actions to put Walmart out of business, which is highly unlikely! 🙂

  10. cheapskate101 says:

    Great letter! I also like the last paragraph.

  11. Boo Radley says:

    mimo, good point. I’ll remove “deeply”

  12. courtreporter says:

    All in all, a great letter

  13. MaricrisMas says:

    Hi Boo!…BOY…I could only read up to response 211…everyone’s got their opinion…your response was very professional…but I liked the paragraph the BEST that stated that Walmart has actually contacted you to advertise on the SC website…LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE IT!

    BOO…YOU DO A GREAT JOB!…THANKS FOR PUTTING THIS SITE TOGETHER!…Together and sharing each others experience has helped our family save $…esp on mat leave when my pay is cut in half!

  14. footinface says:

    About the bogus phishing and fraud garbage, you should add something about how a lot of the content is user activated; I don’t think they can or should hold you responsible for user content, for example just about everything being posted in the forums. You and your team are doing the best you can moderating what’s happening. On another note, you never once claimed to be in affiliation with Walmart, you re-posted a sale they were having; they might as well take all their flyers down, and send out warnings to all their affiliates to take their flyers down if they don’t want their sales and promotions to be promoted.

    Bah, I hate walmart. My inlaws have worked for them for the last 10 years, and my husband put in 5 years of service. Good luck Boo Radley, the lawyer that sent the email disgusts me. I doubt the company itself actually gives a hoot. Scum sucking Scott is just trying to get a buck out of you and it’s wrong, I hope karma gets a good swing at him… Again, good luck.

  15. R&A says:

    I think you’ve done the best you can do with the situation.
    I think it needs repeating that we vote with our dollar though. I’m not in need of a boycott .. I simply won’t shop there for a number of reasons and that is all I can do.
    I’d simply rather line the pockets of Candian companies with ethical business practices when possible.

  16. benji says:

    Well-written Boo. Know that the vast majority of us are standing not just behind you, but beside you.

    🙂

  17. Kaldirris says:

    Very nice letter, Boo. Way to take the wind from their sails.
    I actually started on my own personal *avoid WM* campaign this weekend … since I have an LD in town (yay, me!), I did a BUNCH of PM’ing & stacking this weekend … not only did I NOT have to shop @ WM, but I saved way more money, since I could do some coupon-stacking, too.
    I also want to extend my thanks for all your hard work here @ SC. I’ve dropped my family’s grocery bill by 25% since I’ve been coming here … from the bottom of my penny-pinching heart, I thank you!!

  18. Ang says:

    Let us know if you hear anything from Amy Wyatt at Walmart.

  19. Russha says:

    This is a very good letter Amy but I also think that we should sent more email to Walmart .Since I join Smartcanucks my grocery bill has dropped in the average 20 – 30%… I would like to get the email address of Scott ..

  20. polina says:

    Good, but I didn’t like the last sentence. Not strong enough, and “they have realized the free advertising that Walmart gets through SmartCanucks.ca.” does’t sound correct. They have realized how much free advertizing Walmart gets…?

  21. 7mountains says:

    Fabulous letter back, however since “WE Smart Canuckers” didn’t do anything wrong: to apologize for something “we” haven’t done would be wrong. Can I suggest saying “It is most unfortunate that you feel that “We” have taken advantage or whatever he is accussing “Us” of. In that way you are NOT admitting to him/WM/or anyone that you are guilty of anything.

    May I suggest you put the letter up and ALL SC’ers who feel strongly about this can sign with their real names and then mail it to him, registered of course. Good Luck

  22. Robin says:

    Hi Boo, thanks for sharing your experience and your response with us. Since you mentioned that you are looking for feedback I thought I’d mention that it might be a good idea to start your letter off with a summery of the situation so that Scott knows right away what you are referring to without having to check his logs. Just a technical suggestion. 🙂

  23. Vikki says:

    I sent a nicely worded e-mail to this Amy about my disappointment in how this situation was handled. Who knows if I’ll get a response, but at least I said what was on my mind.

  24. lisalovlee33 says:

    I just wrote to Walmart. Every little bit helps.

  25. cslll says:

    To avoid something similar like this happening again (especially now that users can upload their own image). I think an abstract of this letter (i.e., SC is not responsible for the image and content of all postings….etc) on SC website. Just a thought.

  26. breaster says:

    Nice job, Boo!

  27. thecountess says:

    I’m still not going to shop “There” unless it is for a loss leader. I will go in for that one item and leave.

    You’re right, Boo, boycotting probably won’t may a difference to them, they don’t care, and therein lies the crux of the problem. I think they are a poor company overall and I am putting my money where my mouth is by giving my business to someone else. That may not matter to them, but it matters to me 🙂

    For me the constant articles in the news about how poorly they exploit their employees, and scandal after scandal after scandal, overshadows their massive product selection and so called roll-backs.

  28. Jeff says:

    Smore has it on the button. I realize that Smartcanucks is small in the eyes of Walmart, but this should not dictate your actions.

    The actions of the small can amount to big change.

    Moving the post was the right move, but neglecting to fight back was not. I urge you to reconsider this move, because this action directly benefits Walmart.

  29. Princess_Gwenie says:

    I don’t think you should dignify their phishing accusation with a response. It’s none of the their business and SC users already know the truth.

  30. andreazoe says:

    Boo: Here is my take on your letter – a little more formal, but otherwise I think it covers all the points you make. I don’t think you should address him as Scott – too personal…

    “Mr. Thompson,
    We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated August 14th, 2009 regarding the unauthorized use of the WalMart logo on the Smart Canucks website in January of 2009. We would like to take this opportunity to express our regret regarding this unfortunate incident.
    Smart Canucks is a website dedicated to sharing deals and specials applicable to Canadian shoppers. Our users are free to upload specials they have found in order to permit others across the country to take advantage of the many offers that can be found daily. In fact, just as WalMart is dedicated to helping consumers stretch their budgets, Smart Canucks often finds itself promoting many deals that WalMart offers. Recently, the WalMart Canada Marketing department contacted us about the possibility of advertising on our site as they recognize the intrisinct value of the word of mouth advertising our site provides.
    In order to comply with your request, we have removed the blog in question, and will endeavour in the future to ensure that all of our posts comply with trademark regulations. With regards to the implication that our site is attempting to phish or carry our credit fraud, I assure you that this allegation is completely without foundation. Our members have been informed of the above incident, and we will keep an eye on all future posts in order to ensure their integrity.
    We look forward to promoting more great deals by WalMart in the future, and request that you contact us in the future should you have any concerns about the content of our “Great Deals” blog regarding your client, WalMart.

    Sincerely….”

    I believe you need to specify “Without Prejudice” at the very top of the first page…something to do with presenting your letter in court should it ever reach that point…but bear in mind that you have until Friday to reply, so there is no immediate need to rush and send it tonight…you know what they say…make sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

    Hope things work out! Love the site, love the deals! (I have never responded like this before, so I hope no one is offended…and boy it feels good to do something you want to, but always feel to shy!!)

    Cheers from Montreal!

  31. harrlett says:

    as long as there are not more big blogs on it….thks

  32. types-a-lot says:

    How much of what you say in the first paragraph is actually true? Only the second sentence, I think. The first and fourth sentences are not strictly true. The third sentence doesn’t make sense.

    In the second paragraph, I wonder about the word “misfortune.” What are you referring to? Is the removal of the blog post a misfortune? Was the demand from the lawyer a misfortune? I don’t see how either is a misfortune.

    In the third paragraph, I don’t understand the phrase, “for your future knowledge.” You want them to know right now, not in the future. Presumably, you are not going to copy and post rebate application forms again in the future. And the word “not” in caps, twice, looks slightly hysterical.

    Really, it is enough to say that the offending blog post and image have been removed. You don’t have to apologize or explain to the lawyer. But do forward the lawyer’s letter to HelMart’s marketing and image control people and ask them: is this sort of bullying what you want your legal representative to be doing in your name? Let them deal with their lawyer’s overzealousness.

  33. Smart Ass Canuk says:

    You handled this beautifuly. You know the saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer..”

    Right on!

  34. Sophia says:

    Just a few suggestions:

    Smart Canucks Inc.
    Box 291
    Kingston, Ontario K7L 4V8
    Canada

    August 17, 2009

    Mr. Scott E. Thompson, Shareholder
    Greenberg Trauirg, LLC.
    MetLife Building
    200 Park Avenue
    New York, NY 10166
    U.S.A.

    RE: UNAUTHORIZED AND MISLEADING USE OF WALMART TRADEMARK ON http://WWW.SMARTCANUCKS.CA (LETTER/E-MAIL DATED AUGUST 14, 2009)

    Dear Mr. Thompson:

    Smart Canucks Inc. apologizes for the misunderstanding that has occurred with regards to the matter in question. Smartcanucks.ca is simply a website where consumers have the opportunity to inform each other of shopping deals. Since users of the website are able to freely upload images and/or content, Smart Canuck Inc. does not claim any responsibility for images and/or content posted by users of smartcanucks.ca. Smart Canucks Inc. however does takes great effort to ensure that website content does not impede and/or infringe upon any existing laws by removing any trademarked images.

    As per your request, the blog post in question has been removed and members of smartcanucks.ca informed of the misfortune. To clarify, the deal that was posted was a legitimate Walmart and Proctor & Gamble promotion held in January of 2009. Furthermore, Smart Canucks Inc. would like to clearly state that Smart Canucks Inc. and its affiliated website smartcanuks.ca do NOT: (1) take part in any form of phishing or credit fraud; or (2) collect personal information for misleading purposes or any form of fraud.

    It is unfortunate that such a misunderstanding has taken place, particularly in light of the fact that Walmart Canada Inc. has expressed their interest in advertising on smartcanucks.ca. The public forum has proven to be a valuable resource for both consumers and retailers and will continue to do so with the support of its users.

    Sincerely,
    xxxxxxxx

    CC: Ms. Amy Wyatt-Moore, Public Relations and Brand Reputation Manager,Walmart Stores, Inc.

  35. andreazoe says:

    It’s not lawyer’s overzealousness…it’s strictly standard practice – if you will note, Mr. Thompson does not sign his own letters, ergo probably sends out quite a few a week. Most people will comply because they were not aware they were doing anything illegal, such as our now learned friend Boo!!

    But otherwise, I kinda agree with your critiques of the letter, especially the “not” in caps!!

  36. CATANDMOUSE says:

    BOO,WAY TO GO.WALMART SHOULD LOVE THE FREE ADVERTISING THEY WERE GETTING FROM SC. BUT YOU DID THE RIGHT THING BY REMOVEING THE BLOG POST.

  37. Insane79 says:

    I like it. I think the paragraph about phising and credit card fraud is not strong enough though.
    I would also not start it “Hi Scott” but rather…. Dear Mr. Thompson, Re: Letter dated…. Makes it more formal so that you sound more serious as well.

  38. Insane79 says:

    Excellent idea on the “Your comment is awaiting moderation”!!!!

  39. CrazyCouponLover says:

    Hi Boo, I have a few suggestions:

    “Smart Canucks is simply a website where users inform each other of great shopping deals around Canada.”

    I would revise this sentence as Smart Canucks is not just “simply” a website..etc. ,

    I would suggest that you state the following instead so that they understand that Smart Canucks is highly influential :

    “Smart Canucks is a growing (over 60,000 registered members) and hugely influential website that promotes fiscal responsibility through the sharing of great shopping deals throughout Canada by its members. Smart Canucks prides itself on its ability to save its members 20%-25%+ on their grocery and household needs and the dedication of its supportive community that has developed here.”

    Then write:
    “Since members are able to upload their own images, Smart Canucks has never, and will never, claim responsibility for those images.”

    I hope this helps.

  40. BIG AL says:

    Hey BOO,
    To end this on a good note, at the bottom write a love poem to hookup AMY and ALEX 😉 ahahahahaha……

  41. andreazoe says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation”

    Does that mean no one can read it yet?! It’s what I get for being wordy and long winded…

  42. screamy says:

    Far more polite than I would have been, Boo, kudos to you for that.

  43. Cheapnik says:

    I think your letter is effective. If these nitwits actually took the time to browse SC they would realize the error of their ways. What you have here is just corporate crap – hopefully someone in their PR department will take notice. Thanks for letting us know how this progresses. I only shop at Walmart due to their deals…if they wish to continue with this garbage I will definitely rethink shopping there – and will also let everyone I know about this. I will wait and see what happens.

  44. sniperc151 says:

    Good job on the letter, it is simple and to the point, rambling on in the letter is not to anyones advantage, it is just more words that walmart lawyers could potentially nit-pick at…

  45. Fuzzy_Navel says:

    Hi Boo, I have some suggestions.

    1. Address the letter formally: ex>> Dear Scott Lastname or Attention: Scott Lastname

    2. Like someone else suggested, give a bit of background what this letter is in reponse to. ex>> With regard to your letter “Title of his letter to you” dated August…2009.

    3. P.S. Do not apologize. Instead write ex>> It is unfortunate that this situation has arisen or something to that effect.

    4. “…all members informed of this SITUATION”. (not misfortune)

    5. Try to emphasize the importance and the size of the membership of this site as Couretporter stated.

    6. Mention that you were approached by Hellmart Canada’s marketing depatment PRIOR to this situation/letter.

    7. End the letter professionally with a “Sincerly, real name”.

    DON’T FORGET TO SEND A HARDCOPY LETTER BY REGISTERD MAIL. You want (written/paper) proof that you replied to them. Email is not a secure or professional way to send such a reply letter.

    Good luck! Keep us posted of their reaction back. 🙂

  46. Anne says:

    This whole episode prompted me to check it this website:

    http://walmartsucksorg.blogspot.com/

  47. MTL_Shopper says:

    Sending a conciliatory letter is the right thing to do in spite of how a lot of us feel about the way this whole issue was handled by Walmart. It’s a good letter written in a tone that is far more pleasant than the one you received. Thanks Boo for bearing the brunt of this fiasco and running a super site that helps out a lot of people.
    My only edits would be the following but are simply suggestions:

    “Smart Canucks apologizes for any misunderstanding that has occurred with respect to the appearance of the Walmart trademark on this site. Smart Canucks is a website where users inform each other of great shopping deals around Canada. Since users are able to upload images, Smart Canucks has not, and will never claim responsibility for user-generated content including images. We do however make every effort to ensure that all content on our website is entirely legal in every respect and we do our utmost to remove any images on the website that are trademarked to Walmart.

    To comply with your demand, the blog post in question has been removed and all members informed of the situation. Please note however, that the deal posted was in fact a legitimate Walmart/P&G promo held in January of 2009.

    Furthermore, please be informed that Smart Canucks does NOT carry out any kind of phishing or credit fraud and does NOT collect personal information for misleading purposes or fraudulent activities.

    It may be of interest to you to note that Walmart Canada’s marketing department has contacted us about possibly advertising on SmartCanucks.ca because they realize the potential of free advertising that could benefit Walmart through SmartCanucks.ca.”

  48. polina says:

    Great suggestions from Fuzzy_Navel and CrazyCouponLover. Very smart.

  49. Joel says:

    Looks good to me. Professional and straight to the point.

  50. serra says:

    great letter

  51. sooboy says:

    Boo
    Great site and one of only a few a make a point of checking several times a day. Thanks for the excellent work!

    While I like the letter I think that sending anything legal without discussing it with a lawyer is just asking for trouble. A few misplaced words could cause a lot of heart ache that could otherwise have been avoided.

    The law society of ontario has a great program that gets you a referral and 30 minute consult for the price of a 6 dollar call to a 900 number.

    Here is the info from the site: (http://www.lsuc.on.ca/latest-news/b/fact/access-to-justice/index.cfm#3)

    Lawyer Referral Service (LRS)

    LRS is a public service of the Law Society that helps people find a lawyer when they need help. It is simple to access. Individuals call the 1-900 number and a trained Client Service Representative gives that person the name and phone number of one local LRS member lawyer who is able to deal with their issue. The person calls the LRS member lawyer and receives up to a 30-minute free consultation. A $6 charge is added to the caller’s phone bill.

    For more information:
    Phone: 1-900-565-4LRS (4577) ($6.00/call)
    If in crisis, contact:
    Toll free: 1-800-268-8326
    General line: 416-947-3330

    Okay – that is my two cents worth

  52. Kathy says:

    Awesome! Yeah, great suggestions CCL and F_N. Hopefully the whole WM drama will be over after this 😀

  53. mcminsen says:

    One tried and true word that presidents, prime ministers, church leaders and CEOs the world over have used instead of apologize is REGRET.

    “Smart Canucks REGRETS the misunderstanding…”

    It is simple and expressive but admits nothing.

    Boo, thanks for your hard work. You’ll get past this. Take care.

  54. nwriter says:

    Hi Alex,

    I can’t believe they would write that letter without even acknowledging that you’re sending Walmart business! Without question they should have sent you a much more gracious letter.

    All of the BS accusations could have been avoided if he’d actually done his homework and first examined the site he was paid to intimidate.

    Post Wyatt’s responses.

    You deserve an apology from her and the whole Walmart Bully Department!

  55. mapsgirl says:

    That’s a great letter. I wish I had read what it is in response to.

  56. LoveADeal says:

    Hi Boo,

    I think you need to remove one of the Smartcanucks.ca in the last paragraph…there are too many.

    how about…
    Please also note that Walmart Canada’s marketing has contacted us about the possibility of advertising on SmartCanucks.ca because they have realized the free advertising that Walmart gets through our site.

    Otherwise, great response!

  57. Ginger says:

    For those of you who want to vent your spleen over this matter to the lawyer-type directly, his email is located in the copy of the letter he sent Boo.

    FYI!

  58. LuckyMommie says:

    I wrote to Walmart Canada about this situation and told them I was not happy. I received a response from them today. They believe the original letter from the lawyer was overzealous.

  59. Kimable says:

    I emailed walmart too and this was their reply:
    Good morning,
    We appreciate your concern and the opportunity to respond. The communication sent to Smartcanucks originated from an external law firm in the United States, as part of our global company’s effort to defend customers against the growing incidence of online fraud. Unfortunately, Walmart Canada did not have the opportunity to review the communication before it was sent. We believe it was overzealous. However, we continue to urge customers to be very cautious when assessing online offers bearing Walmart’s name

    Regards
    Debbie
    Customer Relations Administrator
    Phone: 1-800-328-0402
    [email protected]

  60. Alex says:

    “Walmart Canada did not have the opportunity…..”~Regards
    Debbie
    Customer Relations Administrator
    Phone: 1-800-328-0402

    Just like Walmart Canada and Canadians did not have any say when it closed the Jonquiere Quebec store and Gatineau Tire and Lube because the workers wanted a fair deal?
    Just remember the words above when Walmart tries to warm Canadians up with their ‘We’re part of Canada’s culture” advertising (from the Toronto branch of this American advertising agency).
    There is nothing Canadian about Walmart. It doesn’t even trade on any Canadian stock index. Walmart is an American firm who’s specialty is to bring in imported slave labour goods from third world countries.

  61. Fawn Dossey says:

    I like this info and it has presented me some sort of desire to have success for some reason, so thank you. Furthermore I´m definitely considering mentioning these figures in my own blog!

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