MAP or No MAP ? Let your voice be heard

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tatasal
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MAP or No MAP ? Let your voice be heard

As flashlight enthusiasts (FLASHLIGHT BUYERS in short), I think it’s about time to let our voices be heard about this MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) thing.

I think most, if not all, of these Chinese suppliers are on-line dealers/sellers. They have no physical store to maintain, among other things, if at all. This has changed the dynamics of free enterprise, the essence of business in a capitalistic world. Geographical borders is virtually non-existent today. MAP or no MAP, how can anyone actually enforce this?

MAP is IMO, pro-manufacturer. I am pro-buyer, so I am against any form of interference in the market. Only the strong will survive, I believe. If there is a demand, there is always someone willing to create the supply side.

(The momentum now is that prices are steadily going down. Let us not allow this MAP thing to stop it in its tracks)

Edited by: tatasal on 05/23/2019 - 23:27
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Map is pro retailer. No map would mean better prices for us buyers, means more would get sold, means better for the manufacturer. I'm getting sick of these light I want at a decent price just to have the manufacturer step in and f it all up. I had liked crelant, and wanted a few diferent models, but now I think I will just stick to finding a used 7g5 v2 and call it good. I wanted one of those blue pen lights (can't remember the brand or model right now) that fasttech had for a few days. But now the map has stepped in and no way I'm paying that price for a pen light. 

FMS
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These types of posts just serve to promote how clueless some are about how a business model works.

As a generalisation , without MAP’s, a lot businesses wouldn’t survive. This leads to reduced choice of products, suppliers and competition in a lot of cases for us consumers, which is a bad thing.

Clearly if a reseller does not like a suppliers MAP then there is no reason for them to stock the product, and really how stupid are resellers that sell products below MAP then complain or don’t understand why the company pulls them up on it.

It always amuses me to read posts with people saying ‘..I won’t buy anymore of X brand because they have a MAP’, yet these people inevitably own the latest Apple product or another brand that really does screw resellers etc.

I am pro-consumer also and like a bargain, but still prefer to have a choice of brands/suppliers etc so accept companies need to have a sustainable model in order to keep producing product, improving features etc etc.

Bort
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MAP is a legal version of price fixing, if price fixing or collusion were legal, then MAP would never have existed.

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Without any MAP, I’d be lost with all these lights to choose from. Sad How would I know what the good lights were? :~

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Well, personally, I would not one an apple product.

Please explain how a manufacturer would go out of business without map? 

tatasal
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Pulsar wrote:

Well, personally, I would not one an apple product.

Please explain how a manufacturer would go out of business without map? 

+100 on that. I’d like it explained too.

I don’t think one can be pro-consumer while advocating price manipulation from manufacturer/retailer. If MAP is a requirement for most business to survive so that we will something to buy, what is the choice of the consumer then? Wait for what price that is comfortable for the retailer/manufacturer?

FMS
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Pulsar wrote:

Please explain how a manufacturer would go out of business without map? 

Obviously a very rough example with lots of ignored variables-

Five retailers sell product ‘A’ and all have reasonable turnover
One of them starts selling ‘A’ below the prices of the others, causing buyers to only buy from them.
The other four retailers cannot sell through their stock and so stop buying from product ‘A’s manufacturer.
The only remaining retailer having forced the others out, can now charge whatever price they like as there is no more competition.
The Manufacturer now has less distribution channels, less product exposure, less turnover, less profits, reduced product development etc etc etc
Buyers now have less choice and few options if the only reseller has crap service/support.

Oh sorry if my original post sounded harsh, I re-read it and it does sound so.

I don’t condone price fixing by any means, however manufacturers do need a sustainable business model, and one that supports and encourages all it’s resellers to ensure growth of a brand.

Bort
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FMS wrote:
Pulsar wrote:

Please explain how a manufacturer would go out of business without map? 

Obviously a very rough example with lots of ignored variables-

Five retailers sell product ‘A’ and all have reasonable turnover
One of them starts selling ‘A’ below the prices of the others, causing buyers to only buy from them.
The other four retailers cannot sell through their stock and so stop buying from product ‘A’s manufacturer.
The only remaining retailer having forced the others out, can now charge whatever price they like as there is no more competition.
The Manufacturer now has less distribution channels, less product exposure, less turnover, less profits, reduced product development etc etc etc
Buyers now have less choice and few options if the only reseller has crap service/support.

Oh sorry if my original post sounded harsh, I re-read it and it does sound so.

I don’t condone price fixing by any means, however manufacturers do need a sustainable business model, and one that supports and encourages all it’s resellers to ensure growth of a brand.

so in this case why is price fixing and collusion not legal, they would have the same effects?
I personally think the arguments pro MAP are to avoid its real intent, to maximize profit by stifling competition, as it represents the closest legal method of price fixing.

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

tatasal
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That scenario is very possible….however,
isn’t it also possible that the 4 other retailers lower their prices to “price-match”, which is what should ideally happen?
If the first one can survive, the others could too.

jmpaul320
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My 2 cents…

If I want a light – I want the lowest price – obviously.

MAP exists – Manufacturers and sellers can deal with this… I don’t care.

What I do care about is manufacturers/vendors/dealers cluttering up our forum with MAP related drama. We are free to discuss prices here – if these prices violate MAP its not our problem and anyone who doesn’t like this can go to hell.

If a price discussed here violates MAP its a problem for someone…

I realize that the worst that can happen is a vendor will pull a light if they get complaints on a MAP violation… I guess its up to the vendors/sellers discretion how they chose to advertise a price and us if we decide to discuss it.

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
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MAP isn't the best way for business and competition in the market.
In Germany most stores have the same (or similar price - maybe a small difference of 1-2€) for brand flashlights like Fenix, Olight, SWM, Nitecore etc. and if you want the flashlight in 2-3 days, 24 months warranty (every shop in Germany has to give a warranty of 24months by law) you accept the high price (I think it#s the MAP in Germany).

Of course this is good for each shop, because now the shops with good service can make the purchase. But for us as a customer who want the best price and have the knowledge to repair small defects it isn't the best. If I have to pay 20-30% less [the german prices are high for example the Fenix TK35 XM-L U2 cost 100€ + shipping (round about $130 + shipping) or the Olight M3X Triton XM-L2 109€ + shipping (round about $145 + shipping] you can do a lot for example built in a other driver. To have no warranty (to send it back to HongKong, which need 2 weeks and wait 4-8 weeks to get a repaired back) is acceptable if I can save 20-30%.

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The idea that a free market will squeeze out all but one dealer who will then own the market and raise prices sky high is Mostly nonsense.

The dealer with the monopoly based on low price still has to compete with other brands with similar Products and with dealers who offer better service etc.

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I have no problem with the MFG setting the price. If it's not fair? then I just don't buy it. Especially something as frivolous as a flashlight.

If a retailer agrees to MAP fully knowing they will break the agreement, then that retailer is a liar and cheat, since they knew ahead of time they would not honor the agreement. No honor among thieves is about right.

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FMS wrote:
Pulsar wrote:

Please explain how a manufacturer would go out of business without map? 

Obviously a very rough example with lots of ignored variables-

Five retailers sell product ‘A’ and all have reasonable turnover
One of them starts selling ‘A’ below the prices of the others, causing buyers to only buy from them.
The other four retailers cannot sell through their stock and so stop buying from product ‘A’s manufacturer.
The only remaining retailer having forced the others out, can now charge whatever price they like as there is no more competition.
The Manufacturer now has less distribution channels, less product exposure, less turnover, less profits, reduced product development etc etc etc
Buyers now have less choice and few options if the only reseller has crap service/support.

Oh sorry if my original post sounded harsh, I re-read it and it does sound so.

I don’t condone price fixing by any means, however manufacturers do need a sustainable business model, and one that supports and encourages all it’s resellers to ensure growth of a brand.


But you are not taking into account that the retailer can sell the item A for the price he wants. The retailer just can’t advertise the price. They can give you a 50% off coupon or some other discount, they just can’t advertise the final price. So there are cheaper retailers out there they just have to follow the manufactures rules to keep the other retailers happy.
That’s where we come in. We can discuss the final price. But as others already mentioned that was some how against the rules to. You can post a great deal on a item all over the internet for millions to see, explaining how you get the good deal. You just cant post the final price. Makes no sense to me, how many people do you think are not going to add that item to the cart and apply the code just to see what the price is. I do it ever time, It gets me curious just to find out what the final price actually is. So it may actually work against the MAP policy sometimes.
Wilson
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I used to use a MAP, but I find the GPS much better.

What?…….Oh, never mind!

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Bort
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Old-Lumens wrote:

I have no problem with the MFG setting the price. If it’s not fair? then I just don’t buy it. Especially something as frivolous as a flashlight.


If a retailer agrees to MAP fully knowing they will break the agreement, then that retailer is a liar and cheat, since they knew ahead of time they would not honor the agreement. No honor among thieves is about right.


one could argue they are acting like robin hood, thats not my opinion, i’m just throwing it out there

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

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I think its because some dealers buy in bulk and can sell for less than other dealers can buy their stock for. That means only the sellers with the most money will be making more money because the others can’t compete and might as well close down, then the when the big sellers are the only ones left they can charge high prices because they have no competition.

For most of my flashlight purchases I have contacted the seller and negotiated a price that we are both happy with which is usually way under MSRP

Of course I don’t like high fixed prices but its nothing a a email or coupon code can’t fix.

If you view the advertised price as the the starting point for negotiation then 90% of the time you will get a better deal.

relic38
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MAP is not price fixing. The acronym stands for Minimum Advertised Price.
You can sell it for whatever you want to, just don’t advertise below a certain number. The problem is, it leads down a path of temptation towards antitrust (true price fixing).
Any supplier-retailer MAP (or non-MAP) agreement should be in writing and up front, and carefully written. Retail Price Maintenance is illegal in some countries.

On this and any other forum, we can post reseller advertised prices until the cows come home. The MAP-bound price is on the seller’s site, not BLF.

We can post after-coupon prices as well, although this may lead to the seller getting heat from the supplier. Even though they did not post the price, it is now advertised somewhere.
My suggestion is to post the advertised price and mention the coupon and discount percentage.

Some examples given above are not that realistic and are more-or-less taking place in a vacuum (assumes only one manufacturer). A single manufacturer may try to fix it’s prices, but another can take the opportunity to walk in and undercut them with their own product. Note that selling below cost with the intent to drive a competitor out of the market is illegal as well.

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Wilson wrote:
I used to use a MAP, but I find the GPS much better.

What?…….Oh, never mind!


MAP-Minimum Advertised Price
GPS-Get Price the Same
What.
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jmpaul320 wrote:
MAP exists – Manufacturers and sellers can deal with this… I don’t care.

What I do care about is manufacturers/vendors/dealers cluttering up our forum with MAP related drama. We are free to discuss prices here – if these prices violate MAP its not our problem and anyone who doesn’t like this can go to hell.

I agree. Manufacturers have MAP, I don’t care. It just shouldn’t be our problem.

If forum members talk about a low price offered (but not explicitly advertised) by one dealer, another dealer shouldn’t take that and go crying to the manufacturer about it. It was a forum discussion, not an advertisement.

In the past, I thought that not disclosing prices was a small price worth paying to keep good sellers like IS out of trouble. But I’ve come around. MAP shouldn’t be our problem. We should be free to discuss what we want here.

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I totally agree.^^
I don’t see how they can threaten with the MAP agreement upon a retailer, when one of us has posted the price here.
Looks like legally that would be a preach of contract on the manufactures part, if they pulled there products from the retailer for our actions.

Bort
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relic38 wrote:
MAP is not price fixing. The acronym stands for Minimum Advertised Price.
You can sell it for whatever you want to, just don’t advertise below a certain number. The problem is, it leads down a path of temptation towards antitrust (true price fixing).

I re-read my posts, i was not suggesting that MAP is price fixing, but that its the closest legal relative, it attempts to keep prices high, but is not the aforementioned illegal price fixing.

relic38 wrote:

Any supplier-retailer MAP (or non-MAP) agreement should be in writing and up front, and carefully written. Retail Price Maintenance is illegal in some countries.
Some examples given above are not that realistic and are more-or-less taking place in a vacuum (assumes only one manufacturer). A single manufacturer may try to fix it’s prices, but another can take the opportunity to walk in and undercut them with their own product. Note that selling below cost with the intent to drive a competitor out of the market is illegal as well.

This is perhaps one of the biggest flaws in capitalism, you can get big enough to drive competitors out of business (through many practices, not just “competition”) until you have a monopoly situation and then charge whatever you want and keep new entrants from succeeding in the marketplace, Oligopolies can operate similarly through collusion, gentleman’s agreements and so forth

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

 

 

tatasal
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Let’s go back to the original premise of this thread, and I will add why it came about: FT publishes a net price of about $49 for its SWM D40A. Some are not comfortable with the announcement for the possible backlash of the MAP thing. To simplify matters, again, like what happened to the Crelant and Fenix brands, do we allow now, from the buyer’s perspective, any manufacturer/wholeseller to put the brakes again?

Why can’t they just allow the retailer to publish whatever price he intends, instead of having go through coupon codes, etc. of which not all of us has information about? If after the coupon code the final amount received by the seller is the same, with or without the MAP, what then is the logic of this MAP thing?
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tatasal wrote:
Let’s go back to the original premise of this thread, and I will add why it came about: FT publishes a net price of about $49 for its SWM D40A. Some are not comfortable with the announcement for the possible backlash of the MAP thing. To simplify matters, again, like what happened to the Crelant and Fenix brands, do we allow now, from the buyer’s perspective, any manufacturer/wholeseller to put the brakes again? Why can’t they just allow us access to whatever price intended by the retailer, instead of having go through coupon codes, etc. of which not all of us has information about? If after the coupon code the final amount received by the seller is the same, with or without the MAP, what then is the logic of this MAP thing?
In my eyes, its like telling the retailer. “Ok you can give a few people a discounted price. Just don’t tell everyone or we will come for you.”
tatasal
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moderator007 wrote:
tatasal wrote:
Let’s go back to the original premise of this thread, and I will add why it came about: FT publishes a net price of about $49 for its SWM D40A. Some are not comfortable with the announcement for the possible backlash of the MAP thing. To simplify matters, again, like what happened to the Crelant and Fenix brands, do we allow now, from the buyer’s perspective, any manufacturer/wholeseller to put the brakes again? Why can’t they just allow us access to whatever price intended by the retailer, instead of having go through coupon codes, etc. of which not all of us has information about? If after the coupon code the final amount received by the seller is the same, with or without the MAP, what then is the logic of this MAP thing?
In my eyes, its like telling the retailer. “Ok you can give a few people a discounted price. Just don’t tell everyone or we will come for you.”

Correct. +1

rojos
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tatasal wrote:
Why can’t they just allow us access to whatever price intended by the retailer, instead of having go through coupon codes, etc. of which not all of us has information about? If after the coupon code the final amount received by the seller is the same, with or without the MAP, what then is the logic of this MAP thing?

This is just one example, but it’s a real example. Many sellers have policies for matching the lowest advertised price.

And you wouldn’t believe the kind of sh*t some customers pull in order to get a seller to price match.

Back in the day, Costco/Priceclub and some other warehouse stores wouldn’t let you photograph their prices. Part of it was so that customers wouldn’t take photos of price tags, claim that that counted as “advertised prices”, and use them to get other sellers to price match (it was easier to enforce back then because no one had camera phones) but people tried to do it anyway.

I’m sure people have taken prices discussed in this forum and tried to get sellers to match also.

The worst thing about customers like that is that when you tell them to go buy the item from the other place, they hem and haw and make some excuse why they want to buy it from you. And it’s usually stuff like we’re closer to them or we have better customer service or whatever. Those are value added things and they wonder why we charge more.

Customers are crazy sometimes.

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rojos wrote:
And you wouldn't believe the kind of sh*t some customers pull in order to get a seller to price match.

I'm sure people have taken prices discussed in this forum and tried to get sellers to match also.

Customers are crazy sometimes.

 

thats exactly what happened with crelant and madecov... the actual posts involving this have been deleted, so no proof... but i followed that thread from the beginning because one i like mark hes a good seller, and two i liked crelant products... then drama because people had to push to try and get a US retailer to try and match a china retailers price... it cant happen when its a chinese product and a chinese retailer. just not possible, too much overhead. 

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MAP is not price fixing. Price fixing is done with manufacturers sit down together and decide the price together, this is illegal because it is not fair to consumer like us. MAP is done with the manufacturer judging base on their cost, market competition, etc. Because there are millions of consumers, it won’t happen that everyone sit down together and decide the price a product should sell, and it is difficult to decide, so we let market force decide the price.

Why MAP?
My understanding is it is to protect small or medium size seller. Imagine seller A is super rich and can buy 100 flashlight for stock while other sellers can only buy 20 flashlight for stock. Because of higher quantity, seller A ask for more discount let’s say 15 percents. So without MAP, seller A can always sell at price lower than other sellers. Other sellers will find it hard to sell and at the end, we have fewer sellers. Fewer sellers mean no good to buyer.
But is FT very rich compare to other sellers? I am not sure about it. FT strategy might be to sell more with lower profit margin. To the eyes of other sellers, that will force them to lower price either and reduce their margin. And if manufacturer doesn’t step in, these sellers will not order from manufacturer if they have a lot of stock to clear. I think FT should just follow MAP and let the informed buyer to applied the right coupon code.

At the end, I think MAP is good for both seller and buyer. It is not legal term of price fixing as claimed because the price is still negotiable through emails or coupon code applied. FT should cooperate with manufacturer. And I wish to buy Fenix or Crelant from them.

cool i'll see you when you get there

rojos
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Pulsar wrote:

rojos wrote:
And you wouldn’t believe the kind of sh*t some customers pull in order to get a seller to price match.

I’m sure people have taken prices discussed in this forum and tried to get sellers to match also.

Customers are crazy sometimes.

 

thats exactly what happened with crelant and madecov… the actual posts involving this have been deleted, so no proof… but i followed that thread from the beginning because one i like mark hes a good seller, and two i liked crelant products… then drama because people had to push to try and get a US retailer to try and match a china retailers price… it cant happen when its a chinese product and a chinese retailer. just not possible, too much overhead. 

Haha… I did not know about that.

If people want to know reasons why MAP exists, there’s one.

Blame idiot customers.

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tatasal wrote:
Let’s go back to the original premise of this thread, and I will add why it came about: FT publishes a net price of about $49 for its SWM D40A. Some are not comfortable with the announcement for the possible backlash of the MAP thing. To simplify matters, again, like what happened to the Crelant and Fenix brands, do we allow now, from the buyer’s perspective, any manufacturer/wholeseller to put the brakes again? Why can’t they just allow the retailer to publish whatever price he intends, instead of having go through coupon codes, etc. of which not all of us has information about? If after the coupon code the final amount received by the seller is the same, with or without the MAP, what then is the logic of this MAP thing?
I think it is fair to everyone. If a buyer do more research and found a coupon, he/she deserve some discount. It is like if someone spend more time and effort to compare price of product in different shops, then he can buy it at lower price.

tatasal, I think MAP is good. The bad one is manufacturer controlled price. Where if a seller is found selling below price manufacturer has set, he will be out.
I don’t know what is that called, if it is called MCP, it is much worse than MAP if you think MAP is bad.

cool i'll see you when you get there

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