EU Fines ASUS, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer $130M for Online Price Fixing

Megalith

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The European Union’s antitrust authorities have fined ASUS, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer for breaching EU competition rules by restricting online retailers from setting their own prices for widely used consumer electronics products. With the help of “sophisticated monitoring tools,” these companies would swiftly intervene whenever price decreases were discovered.

“If those retailers did not follow the prices requested by manufacturers, they faced threats or sanctions such as blocking of supplies. Many, including the biggest online retailers, use pricing algorithms which automatically adapt retail prices to those of competitors. In this way, the pricing restrictions imposed on low pricing online retailers typically had a broader impact on overall online prices for the respective consumer electronics products.”
 

DNMock

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ASUS? Since when did ASUS start getting into the A/V Receiver game?
 

cyberguyz

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ASUS? Since when did ASUS start getting into the A/V Receiver game?
The article isn't just about AV equipment:

In particular, Asus, was found to have monitored the resale price of retailers for certain computer hardware and electronics products such as notebooks and displays — and to have done so in two EU Member States (Germany and France), between 2011 and 2014.


Too bad this won't happen in the US.
Would you really want to be a member of the EU?
 

alxlwson

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Throw some of these executives into jail and lets see how fast they stop pulling this illegal shit at our expense.


What expense is that? What's so bad about a manufacturer wanting a minimum advertised price on their product?
 
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I felt like my Denon receiver was competitively priced with other units when I bought it 6 or 7 years ago. It has been a great unit. Great sound, easy setup, good connection options (especially for the time and price), and has never failed me. The only reason I may get another is if I ever upgrade to a unit that has 4k capable HDMI pass-through at 60hz or above (I can't remember the HDMI version that is on my unit), as of right now I do not need that.
 

cyclone3d

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Apple sets their retail prices as well.

I wonder exactly how hard (easy) it would be to come up with a huge list of companies that enforce prices set by them?
 

BinarySynapse

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What expense is that? What's so bad about a manufacturer wanting a minimum advertised price on their product?

Imagine you own a business, and you have an overstock of WXYZ5999-Awesome. Now imagine your are expecting a shipment of WXYZ9999-OMG-0ver-9K in a few weeks. Wouldn't you want the flexibility to sell you overstocked product at whatever price you feel is reasonable without worrying about Asshats Inc. coming in and saying "You're listing those too cheap, we're canceling your order for our new product"?
 

LurkerLito

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What expense is that? What's so bad about a manufacturer wanting a minimum advertised price on their product?
If all it was was a minimum advertised price on a product then there wouldn't be an issue, the problem is that they say "minimum advertised price" but if you sell it below that when the customer comes in and they find out about it, you get blackballed for new shipments and new products or they pull you as an authorized dealer and make sure your customers don't get any warranty with their purchase from you.
 

jnemesh

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It's not "price fixing" is "Unilateral Protected Pricing". You CAN sell whatever you want at whatever price you want, but if you don't play by Denon's rules, they don't have to keep supplying you with more product. This is meant to keep MSRP prices consistant so we don't have one online dealer undercutting others...or more importantly, undercutting legitimate AUTHORIZED dealers who need more than 4 or 5% markup in order to stay in business.

When you DON'T have a policy like this, dealers and installers will sell other products which DO protect from predatory online pricing, and eventually, the company in question goes out of business. Yes, it "sucks" for consumers looking to buy quality electronics at bargain prices, but policies like these keep the INDUSTRY healthy. I know my opinion is probably pretty unpopular here, but as someone who has been in the CE industry over 22 years, I have seen the roadkill from companies that didn't adopt price protection policies like this! I expect Denon/Marantz (Sound United now) will appeal, as they modeled their policies after Bose, and Bose has been selling like this for DECADES.
 

DukenukemX

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Yea $138 million ain't going to do shit.

2emk3y.jpg
 

U-238

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It's not "price fixing" is "Unilateral Protected Pricing". You CAN sell whatever you want at whatever price you want, but if you don't play by Denon's rules, they don't have to keep supplying you with more product. This is meant to keep MSRP prices consistant so we don't have one online dealer undercutting others...or more importantly, undercutting legitimate AUTHORIZED dealers who need more than 4 or 5% markup in order to stay in business.

When you DON'T have a policy like this, dealers and installers will sell other products which DO protect from predatory online pricing, and eventually, the company in question goes out of business. Yes, it "sucks" for consumers looking to buy quality electronics at bargain prices, but policies like these keep the INDUSTRY healthy. I know my opinion is probably pretty unpopular here, but as someone who has been in the CE industry over 22 years, I have seen the roadkill from companies that didn't adopt price protection policies like this! I expect Denon/Marantz (Sound United now) will appeal, as they modeled their policies after Bose, and Bose has been selling like this for DECADES.

I was meaning to post something in this thread but you've done a much better job than I could have. The headline frames this as a bunch of shady companies getting together in a secret huddle and saying "hey, we all gonna sell our shiz at $500 and we'll make maaaad profitz". The reality is these companies do this to help prevent the dealers and online predators from eating each other (and themselves). They (the companies being fined) aren't making any more money than they would otherwise but it does help the industry as a whole by keeping the doors open for a lot of smaller businesses. Online sellers (aka: Amazon) don't give a shit if they make 2% margin on an A/V receiver, they'll ship out 1,000 of them this month along with a million other products. Meanwhile ABC Electronics may only be able to sell 2-3 in that same month (due mainly to just not having the footprint) and a measly 2% isn't going to keep the lights on let alone put dinner on the table.
 

Slade

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When traveling to Europe/Asia 15 years ago, I found that I could always find a few items here and there that would be better priced due to a combination of exchange rates, different taxes and supply and demand, ie things popular in one regions may not sell well and can be sold cheaper.

Now when I travel out of NA, I'm finding that whenever I price anything I am remotely interested in, they are always within a few % of each other in price. The level of price control seems too good these days.
 
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Totally expect big business to side with the EU skeptics in the coming years regardless of their political stance.
 

GlowingGhoul

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Too bad this won't happen in the US.

Well, except for the Apple E-book price fixing case, the Bridgestone Tire price fixing case, the canned tuna price fixing case, the LCD panel price fixing case, and about 40, on average, other price fixing cases brought by the DOJ every year, it would never happen in the US.
 

GlowingGhoul

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Totally expect big business to side with the EU skeptics in the coming years regardless of their political stance.

Big business has, and will continue to support the EU. That's because the EU's policy of mass migration provides an endless stream of cheap labor, and more customers. Very profitable in the short run, and the destruction of European culture over the long run is not their concern.
 
D

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And here I am paying insane prices for vintage receivers on EBay lol
 
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