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Old 18th November 2005, 03:02 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default my MAP (min advertised price) odyssey

Just about everyone on this forum is more or less familiar
with vendor/manufacturers MAP policies. "More" generally =
less happy with from a consumers perspective, but if you
disagree, I'd love to hear your rationale.

Recently, I wanted to purchase item x from a reputable online vendor. Go ahead, call me naieve - I am fairly new to the online sales game - but I found the best price of 64 dollars, purchased the item, and was then told that it would not be in stock for another week.
Fine. Ok, it arrives in their stock - along with a notice that it
is now 85 dollars. I notify them that I have an email confirmation from
them, the ink isn't even dry, that comfirms the price at 64 dollars. No matter, they reserve the right to change the price at any time. Pay the extra, or cancel the order. Since the order was in place, I asked if they would match the price of any better price I could find elsewhere.
"Of Course" they said, as long as it conforms to their suppliers MAP policy. That policy, they informed me now, stipulates that they can sell it for no less than 85 dollars. I cancel the order in disgust. But I'm just that kind of principled guy. Most customers, retailers must know the exact percentage by now, will simply relent and choke up the extra cash.

I went surfing for info on MAP policy. Turns out, vendors are free, under most MAP agreements, to offer the product at any price they chose over the telephone or in email quotes. MAP policies have many roots in recording industry attempts to maintain their whopping 15 to 20 dollar average prices of cds. Jeez, and look what it got them in the end. Wonder what gives rise to file sharing? Perhaps if they had spent as much effort on improving product and service, instead of negotiating shady schemes to corral market share, they'd be in less hot water today. Hasn't anyone in corporateland learned more from the airline industry? Simlar story. So much earnest sweat devoted to tricking out the profits with wacky ticketing schemes, and the service and product side slumps. Now bankruptcy. Someone please bail me out!

I contacted said manufacter of item x mentioned above. I would like to know please, what your MAP policy is with your vendors. Since I would like to make more fully informed decisions when purchasing online, it might help to know what sanctions I might be pressuring the kind online sales-entity to breach by my attempts to negotiate a fair price. Certainly, if an agreement between the manufacturer and vendor involved the "fixing" of certain prices (that is undeniably the proper word to use) then the consumer has every right to know the specifics of such a policy. Here was the reply...

"How are you? Thank you for your interest in XXXXXX products. In regards to your request, sorry that I can't disclose more information to you since the material is confidential to the company. As Imentioned in my previous email, we have programs to run with ourresellers in order to promote XXXXXX products. The bottom line is we will find a balance point between the market reaction with XXXXX products. If there is anything that I can help, please let me know, thank you."

There it is. My question specifically regarded MAP. The response was that these negotiations are "confidential".

You say,
"quit bitching and go purchase a competing product - this is free enterprise - you're free to go purchase someplace/something else".

Did you really think that one through? Study up on the history of price fixing and its common corollary - the bait and switch - and you might be a little alarmed by this MAP stuff as well.
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Old 18th November 2005, 08:49 PM   #2
Htguy is offline Htguy  United States
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Tucson AZ
Default MAPing...

Hi,

IN the electronics world, the MAP system is put in place to stop resalers from selling the item at or near cost. It does the mnaf. no good if no one can make a profit on their products. This action tends to drive retail stores out of buisness so no one can come and hear or see a product demo at their locat XXXXXX product dealer.
As annoying as MAP is, if properly used it makes sure that a company has a healthy distrubution chain for their products.

God bless...

Mark
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Old 19th November 2005, 04:31 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Unfortunately, I haven't yet met the "used properly" variety of this animal. Or perhaps all along I've been the unwitting beneficiary of this wonderful marketing tool you describe.

What you've described, however, is rich with invitations for abuse.
Do you really believe that MAP is currently being "used properly" in most internet sales? There are very few things around me I have
a beef about, after all, when "used properly".

It seems to me to be a policy that is just hanging its neck out for some form of regulation. That's a shame. There is, of course, too much regulation as it is.

God bless greed.
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Old 19th November 2005, 03:14 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2004
hey maybelle!
how're ya edsel?

ok.
lunch at elpinto today? the usual gang.

i brought an extra mcmuffin from breakfast. gotta work thru lunch. tomorrow?
sure. hey, seen that inter office memo this morning? something about MAP?

oh yeah. what'd ya think about that?
i don't understand that stuff. what is it? something about minimum advertised price?

the guys in marketing are calling it Mutually Assured Profits. ha ha
*blinking silence*

anyway, we're not supposed to discuss it with anyone outside the company.
what's that all about. last memo like that came from accounting.

oh yeah, the arthur anderson thing. these guys won't learn.
*blinking silence*

anyway, map is an agreement between parties to corner market share.
they all agree?

for the most part. cohesive groups are more effective at bargaining.
is that collective bargaining?

if you want.
isn't that what a couple of guys in the shop got "let go" for?

uh, maybelle. uh, keep your voice down a little.
*silence*

but you got me there. what's good for the goose.... eh?
what do you mean?

labor picking managements pockets - management picking customers pockets..
hmm

..but up the chain it's MAP. downward, it's painted socialism.. communism.
ugh, communism. that's awful.

it's a stinkin world kid.
but some of those labor guys are just arguing for a fair share.

so are the guys behind map. tough times. cheap foreign labor. limping economy.
so it's ok?

i'd be happier if it was all a little more aboveboard.
aboveboard?

it's price fixing any way ya slice it. that's why we have to keep silent about it.
but i heard that marketing has a couple of guys who talk to the public.

talking points
talking points?

obfuscation
obfuscation?

"a balance point between the market reaction with acme products"
"drive retail stores out of buisness"
"healthy distribution chain"
"product demos and personal touch"
"protecting market share"
wow, this is impressive stuff!

it's blowing smoke up yer... uh nevermind.
*pert silence*

walks like... quacks like... even starting to smell like... price fixing.
right! what do you think of those wolverines this year?

looks like carl's here and you're off to lunch. talk to ya later.
oh yeah. gotta go. God Bless....

** and with that, suddenly edsel gets the uneasy feeling that everything he's just been
saying may have just gone in one ear, whistled it's way nervously past the
locked and guarded vault labeled 'ethics/morality - only authorized entry',
and then straight out the other ear again. oh well. there's always sports
and weather next time.**
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Old 21st November 2005, 04:55 AM   #5
Tweeker is offline Tweeker  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Quote:
Recently, I wanted to purchase item x from a reputable online vendor. Go ahead, call me naieve - I am fairly new to the online sales game - but I found the best price of 64 dollars, purchased the item, and was then told that it would not be in stock for another week.

Fine. Ok, it arrives in their stock - along with a notice that it
is now 85 dollars.
In some states this is something your attorney general might like to hear about, as there are very specific laws regarding these practices that trumps any fine print. It may be the best approach towards getting some vendors to change thier tune.
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