MAP Pricing: What Amazon Sellers Need to Know
Amazon sellers need to know what the definition of MAP pricing is and what it means for online business.
MAP stands for minimum advertised pricing. Minimum advertised pricing refers to when a manufacturer tells its distributors and retailers that they cannot advertise the products in their inventory for less than what the manufacturer says. On Amazon, this means that you cannot list the price you want to offer customers also known as “vertical agreements.”
To me and many others, this makes no sense. You bought the product, why should anyone be able to tell you what you can sell it for?
What if your listing is not moving? What if you cannot sell the product for the MAP? Should someone that already has your money be able to tell you to keep it in inventory? Should Amazon want products taking up space in their FBA warehouses? Why should anyone be able to tell you that you MUST lose your money because you cannot list it for whatever you want?
What is worse than being told that you must lose money on your property is the fact that MAP prices are only imposed on off-site advertising like Amazon, Newegg, eBay, etc. Brick and mortar stores don’t have the same restrictions.
November 2018 Update by Joseph Volpe, Paralegal, Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., the law firm behind AmazonSellersLawyer.com:
Although Amazon does not enforce MAP agreements on the platform many manufacturers and distributors assert Intellectual Property complaints against Amazon sellers in an attempt to control distribution. These are the classic baseless Rights Owner complaints against Amazon sellers.
For Amazon’s purpose these agreements hold no basis for asserting this type of complaint. Nevertheless, failure to deal with these issues may lead to an suspended Amazon account.
The first step in situations like this is to reach out to the complainant to show Amazon that you are attempting to resolve this issue off platform. Amazon’s email to the suspended Amazon seller directs the suspended Amazon seller to try and resolve the issue with the complainant. Although this usually does not work, it gives the suspended Amazon seller a basis to appeal to Amazon.
This basis will allow a seller to require Amazon to step in and take the appropriate action which may lead to a final resolution of the matter.
What Manufactures are being told:
One of the largest group of corporate lawyers have told manufacturers that MAP pricing should force Amazon and other internet sellers to impose extra clicks on our customers. Online sellers can impose extra steps for their customers like “call for pricing” or “add to cart to see price.” But, we know that more clicks mean fewer sales.
Manufacturers have also been told that they should try and impose their price restrictions broadly.
Corporate America was told by their lawyers, the American Bar Association, that: “internet and other discounters….” are “free riding.”
I don’t know about you, but my clients, including some of you and your colleagues, are not free riders. You are the frontiersmen of the American Dream. Amazon sellers are keeping our economy alive when corporate America continues to provide consumers with awful experiences and high prices. You strive to give customers low prices and better service.
The National Association of Wholesalers admitted to its members in 2008 that MAP pricing will no longer always be legal. Also, that wholesalers should not join together and look for high MAPS because that could violate the law.
Here is the current reality: We can win the fight the against MAP pricing.
We have the United States Supreme Court on our side. We have Amazon’s Leadership Principals in our favour.
If you would like to learn more about what the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) has to say about MAP pricing and why Amazon should never again harass a seller for MAP claims, read the court’s 2007 opinion in the Leegin case and Amazon’s MAP policies.
If you enjoyed this article please look at our related content and review us on: