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I'm not sure but I own a lot of LeCreuset cookware and my local seller told me that every store has to sell LeCreuset for the same price and can only put the product on sale when LeCreuset tells them they can. When it goes on sale it's on sale at every retailer. I actually love this because I can buy it at the store I like without worrying about price. I wish everything were like this. Shopping price is stressful to me.
"Fair trade" is no longer legal but contracts between manufacturers and retailers usually make it appear that they will sell at the same price or lose their contract. Often it is nothing more than an agreement not to advertise at any price less than the MRSP. What they actually sell for is a different issue, and is in any event virtually uninforcable beyond cancelling the dealer relationship (not a small thing though for many dealers). A direct approact to pass on and advertise a discount under such circumstances is advertising an 'openbox' or 'demo' unit which in fact is new. Interestingly in tightly controlled product distribution many, if not most dealers, will not discount much or at all on the product itself.
That is what I believe anyway.
In general companies can make rules for retail sellers. They can do this becuse they are providing a product with strings attached.
Folks who do not want to follow the rules, no longer get to sell that product.
The best way to 'enforce' this is to deny product, or for illegal sales to refuse warranty.
The person buying can still possible find some grey market, but then the warranty is void.
It is legal for companies to do this.
It is not
price fixing. Price fixing is collusion between different companies to cause prices of similar products to be equally high.
One company protecting it's margin is NOT price fixing.
Fair trade laws were enacted on a state-by-state basis, but they were deemed unlawful by the FTC and in a large number of actions in various Federal Courts in the early 1980s.
So, manufacturers cannot dictate to resellers at what price they can sell products to customers (with certain exceptions), but what they do often require resellers to comply with minimum advertised pricing (MAP), which has been deemed legal in most (if not every) state.
Samsung has been using what it calls a "Unilateral Pricing Policy" or UPP. They dictate what the price will be and all retailers follow suit. It can vary every few days depending on sales.
I thought it strange, at first, until I kept up with the ads and got a great deal on a 51" plasma TV. One day it was going for $1397 ($100 down from full retail) to $997. The price was only good for 4 days and then went up to $1497.
Christmas came early for me!
I guess it pays to pay attention to trending prices and be a more informative buyer.
All the best,
Whether we call it price fixing or something else, it still represents an attempt by the manufacturer to disrupt free market competition among its dealers. Many manufacturers dread having their products become commodities and try to keep retail prices artificially high to prevent it. The high end audio world is a Rolex and Champagne one,and preserving the image of ones product as a rare, unique, and expensive acquisition is essential to marketing to the high end customer.
The narrow answer to your question is that the so-called "fair trade laws" enacted at the state level in the 1930s were all repealed by federal law in 1975. See the topic "retail price maintenance" in Wikapedia. The fair trade laws were originally enacted not to protect manufacturers from discounters but to protect small, independent store owners from large chains (which came into existence in the 1930s) that could get lower prices from suppliers and undercut the independents on price.
Until 2007, retail price maintenance imposed privately by manufacturers (not by law) was automatically illegal. The rule was you couldn't control price after you sold the item to someone else. That approach was supplanted in a 2007 Supreme Court decision holding that each situation had to be evaluated on its facts to determine if there was an economically reasonable basis for the price maintenance. Retail price maintenance may be illegal in certain circumstances, but is not automatically so.