MAP pricing, revisited

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cptobvious
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MAP pricing, revisited
3 months ago

It seems these days you can't buy any kind of consumer electronics these days without dealing with MAP or UPP (minimum advertised pricing or unilateral pricing policy).  Whereas in the past the retailer could just give you their best price straight up, now you have to deal with rebates, perks, calling in orders, etc.

My question is, has MAP pricing even benefited the industry?  It seems consumer electronics sales (including cameras) have tanked last year despite the policies.  I haven't seen any evidence that smaller retailers are doing better because of it.  Rather, there seems to be a huge surge in offering gray market and "refurbished" goods (I put those in quotes because I wonder how many are really just unsold new inventory) on eBay, sometimes suspiciously around the end of fiscal quarters.

I think the music instrument industry has become an example of how ridiculous MAP pricing has become.  Every time one of the larger music stores puts out a coupon, the list of brand exclusions is a mile long.  It would be easier if they just listed the brands that were included.  Yet you can give them a call and place the order over the phone and get the same discount on those excluded brands, because the MAP policy only applies to online orders.

Personally, all MAP pricing has done for me is made me cut back on spending, and time my purchases for the end of the year when those policies are relaxed somewhat.

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