You invested some serious time into creating your MAP policy. It’s very visible on your website, and you also made sure to send it out to all retailers that you’re collaborating with. No place for a mistake, right?
Yet, when you search for your products on the web, you find that there’s been a MAP violation. Some retailers still want to play unfair and are selling your products below the MAP policy that you’ve agreed on. What can you do in those cases? Is it smart to end the collaboration right away?
Let’s go through some of the possible ways for addressing this problem.
Even though you have every right to be angry, your next steps still need to be thought through. Therefore, your first step should be to document the MAP violation and inform the retailer that you’re aware that they’ve violated it.
It would be smart to prepare all the evidence. Take a screenshot from the retailer’s website and it would be useful to write down the date and time as other evidence. This can be useful in case a retailer tries to get away with it, or if the MAP violations continue happening.
You can make all this evidence as a part of your first email to the retailer. In that way, they’ll be aware of what happened, when, and how do they need to fix it. Therefore, this will be used as a warning, giving them time to fix their mistake.
Usually, this will do the work, but if it doesn’t, you need to consider the next steps.
Even though you’ve made everything clear regarding MAP monitoring on your website, maybe the retailer really did an honest mistake. That’s why a warning should always be your first step. But, if your warning gets ignored, then the situation requires further measures. In other words, an action that retail can’t ignore. Unfortunately, that next move usually means stop with suppling the MAP violating retailer.
This step won’t go unnoticed because at some point they’ll need more products. That would be the opportunity to again mention that you’re aware of the violation and that you expect them to take some action. It would be especially useful if you have the help of a MAP enforcing partner (such as Price2Spy). This means that you’ll be able to monitor their actions 24/7. In that way, a retailer will be aware that you know about all the violations, and more importantly, that you’ll be able to spot the new one in a matter of minutes.
In most cases, your troubles with MAP violation will end up here. Most retailers will remove the problematic prices, but it’s up to you if you want to continue the collaboration.
Even though it seems unbelievable there are some retailers who wouldn’t budge even after all your warnings. Then is the time for a more severe step. Although resellers don’t explicitly agree on MAP policy terms (meaning that both sides don’t sign any contract) you as a brand will still be in advantage if a MAP violation occurs. In other words, you still have the law on your side.
Due to that, you have the possibility to send a Cease and Desist letter to a retailer informing them that you’ll take serious legal actions if the MAP violation continues.
If all of your previous warnings have gone unnoticed, this one won’t.
As we said, the law is still on your side, even if there is no contract obliging retailers to sell your products below the MAP policy. Therefore, you can take the case ut to the court, as a final measure.
However, it’s not so often that this happens. First of all, if you’re collaborating with some big retail company, they’re very aware of what they put in stake. They wouldn’t risk their reputation with a continuous MAP violation. In most cases, you’ll have problems with smaller retailers who are trying to find their spot by doing shady business.
As you can see, it’s not so easy to make things transparent in the eCommerce world. Although you do everything that’s up to you, events such as MAP violations are still happening.
So instead of trying to follow up on all these possible price changes manually, you could always use the help of a price monitoring tool.
We in Price2Spy offer you an option of a free 30-days trial, so you can fully test out our services.
Did you have any bad experiences with the MAP violation so far? We would love to hear more about it. Share it in the comment section, and maybe we have just the right solution for you!