You have gone to great lengths to create a foolproof MAP policy for your products, even publishing it in your site’s Reseller/Partner section and issued a press release about it. However, you find out that a reseller has violated your minimum advertised pricing policy. What could you do?
First, Document the Violation and then Send an Official Warning
Take screenshots of the retailer’s site displaying the reduced advertised pricing and include these in your first official warning email message. The message must include the SKU and UPC for the product or goods in question, the specific date and time when the violation was found, the price posted in the ad, and of course, your imposed MAP price. Essentially, this email message must contain all the evidence of the violation and most importantly, what your reseller could and should do to remedy the issue. If the reseller doesn’t respond even after repeatedly sending the warning messages, you have no choice but to…
Stop Sending Products to the Retailer
In the majority of instances, this would force the retailer to respond to your warnings finally. You could also consider telling them that your MAP enforcement partner is regularly monitoring their websites and product advertisements, and in case they commit another MAP violation; you would permanently stop supplying them with your products. But what if your reseller still ignores you, and worse, continues advertising your products at drastically reduced prices? Your last resort would be to…
Send the Reseller a Cease and Desist Letter
Get your attorney to draft a Cease and Desist letter and then send it to the violator. If this still doesn’t fix things, ask your attorney if you could take your issue to court based on trademark infringement. Take note that while your minimum advertised pricing policy doesn’t legally require your authorized retailers to promote your products at prices equal to your MAP price, you still have all the legal right to safeguard your brand and your other authorized retailers who are following your MAP policy.
With this in mind, these are often last-resort actions that you might have to do to make it clear to all potential MAP violators that you’re serious about protecting the reputation of your brand.