Why MAP Pricing Enforcement?
In the online retail space, there will always be sellers violating your MAP policies. The question that arises is ‘Why does my brand need MAP Pricing Enforcement?’ The answer is simple, without MAP enforcement brand violations will continue to increase and brand perception will plummet. The enforcement of your minimum advertised price is a vital part of an effective Amazon brand protection strategy. Remember, your brand and its image are what your customers trust and rely on. Pricing violators negatively affect this image. Furthermore, they cause a reduction in sales and thus revenue. In a related article titled “Brand Violators & Unauthorized Sellers: A Preventative Approach“, we discussed how to help prevent violators. This article is a guide to MAP pricing compliance and will detail steps to take once violations have occurred.
Graduated Electronic Cease & Desist Letters
The first step in MAP pricing enforcement should always be an electronic cease & desist notice. Send these notices via the Amazon Marketplace. If it is for an authorized distributor then send via a direct email instead. This should be a three-step graduated process with each letter getting more aggressive. This MAP enforcement technique alone is enough to remove a large number of violators. These are usually the sellers who are violating by accident or are just testing the waters.
Online Investigation Tools & Techniques
Copyright & Trademark Complaints
Physical Cease and Desists/Legal Threats
We acquire the unauthorized seller’s physical address via the research and test buying process. With this info, we can now mail out a physical cease & desist letter. Certified mail with signature required is how the letters should be sent. Receiving this letter is a red flag for the seller and informs them of two things. First, that we know who they are. Many sellers will cease selling at this point because their anonymity has been removed. And secondly, that the brand will pursue further legal action if the products are not removed from the Amazon marketplace. In addition, a slightly more aggressive tactic is to send out a fully typed pre-summons letter via certified mail with signature required.
Termination of Distributor Agreements
Civil or Criminal Lawsuit
Demand MAP Pricing Compliance and Achieve Your Amazon Brand Protection Goals
The techniques detailed above will be extremely helpful in demanding MAP pricing compliance once a violation has occurred. However, a preventative approach can greatly reduce the need for these MAP enforcement techniques. Check out our related post “Brand Violators & Unauthorized Sellers: A Preventative Approach” for more information on this.