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Online & Mail Order Sales

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by SuziB, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. SuziB

    SuziB
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    Please can someone enlighten me as to how Arcam can get away with banning online and mail order sales, and fixing prices for their dealers.

    Supplier price fixing is illegal under EU law and indeed prior to thie the Restrictive Practices Act in the UK banned Individual Resale Price Maintenance.

    Suppliers also are not allowed to dictate the distribution of their products (ouside medicines and some books) - recently rulings against Tesco etc only established that supplier & manufacturers could only control distribution of their products to the degree that non-EU products could not be sold in the EU as this constitues breach of IP. However, suppliers are not allowed to dictate the distribution of products which are intended for sale in the EU.

    Thanks

    Suzi
     
  2. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    Arcam don't do any of this. What they do do is require any dealers have a suitable level of demonstration facilities and that they have a minimum of of I think 10 products from the DiVa range and if an FMJ dealer every product from that range on display at all times and the facilities to demonstrate these products properly. As for price fixing, there is none of that either, they supply dealers with a recommended retail price list and it is up to the dealers to do what they want from there. Now obviously they only places that are going to conform to the 'products on display' and 'demonstration facilities' policy are proper independent dealers who know what they are talking about and want to maintain a healthy margin as opposed to big warehouse box shifters who are only concerned with selling large quantities at very low margin and have very little interest in providing a high standard of aftersales service that is usually required and expected on this level of product. Prices do fluctuate slightly, for example we (Sevenoaks Edinburgh) are selling the AVR250 for £900 at the moment as part of our 'Summer Event'. As far as price is concerned though why should a dealer sell the product for less when it sells perfectly well at the price it is and is competetive on price and performance compared to other similar products.If you are not happy with the price of Arcam equipment then buy something cheaper. If you are not happy with the performance of cheaper products then you have to expect to pay a premium for that increase in performance. You can't have you cake and eat it. I for one think Arcam is one the the best companies around for dealers like myself as they give us proper support and help us maintain a healthy margin that we can actually sustain a business with. Without suppliers that support local dealers like us we would all but disappear, and then where would you go to to demonstrate and compare all of these products?
     
  3. SuziB

    SuziB
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    So perhaps someone can explain why even retailers who meet the criteria outlined in your post are still not allowed to sell mail order eg Peter Tyson, Creative Audio etc!

    As someone studying for their Bar exams (having graduated 2 years ago from Christleton) and a hifi fan, I find this very interesting. Imposing conditions upon sell of products can also be considered 'price fixing' if it results in 'non-differentiated' pricing by retailers. I recently spoke to a company called Hi-Spek (not that I was impressed at all!) who assured me Arcam doesnot allow them to discount and instead can only offer 'goods to the equivalent value' in lieu of a discount - again a practice made illegal under the UK's Restrictive Practices Act.
     
  4. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    Perhaps you should seek an answer from Arcam themselves, I am quite happy with the situation as it keeps competition to a minimum and makes sure that Arcam can supply the level of support to me as a dealer which they couldn't if there were many more dealers.

    As far as mail order is concerned, there should be an Arcam dealer within close vicinity to most people. Should you find travelling to your closest Arcam dealer troublesome I'm sure a quick phone call to them would be able to find a solution.
     
  5. Member 231429

    Member 231429
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    I am not sure exactly, but it is something to do with being a specialist equipment supplier allows them to fall outside of the RRP rules. Being a law student/graduate I am sure you will be better at finding the exclusion terms than I am.

    You will find that others in the same area such as Kef adopt the same rules for not allowing mail order etc.

    By claiming that the products should only be available after demonstration ie at a dealer, they get the exclusion.
     
  6. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Arcam have an interest in their brand always being the top. Top in terms of quality, but also top in terms of sales experience and after-sales care. Mail Order introduces the risk of bad sales experience through the physical act itself (damaged goods, having to wait in for a courier to deliver, if they ever turn up etc) and also through the fact that this means you could be some distance from your supplier. You may not think this means a lot but it's always the little things that bug distance buyers (we should know since our website attracts customers from around the country and we've suffered these very problems).

    e.g. a faulty DVD player. Mail order client needs to take his own time and money to send it back to us, a day or two later it gets here and we check it out, if it is not serviceable here it goes into manufacturer who will usually have it back within a few weeks (Arcam would be a week), it gets back to us the next day, then we need to send it back to the client, arranging another day for client to be at home to sign (potentially costing another day off in addition to the one needed to take the initial delivery) and then we hope the couriers can deliver on time. Even if a firmware update in the office cures the fault, the machine is still away for days and incurs shiping costs and the need to be in (and risk of further damage in transit). With Arcam, Arcam customers are always local to their store/installer. With a store they can pop in on a saturday or their lunchbreak and if a firmware update is the cure then it's job done in 15 minutes. With a local installer (such as us) we would be able to physcially visit the site to see what's up!!! Even if the mail order guy turns out cheaper, is it worth all that??

    As a company wide policy, to never have their products available mail order they will never have a client who has had to put up with all that kind of hassle. Therefore they have a happier client, who will be happy to come back. Makes great business sense to me!!!

    rrps and all that are a different point. Again there is potential to sell an Arcam cheaper, but as a retailer I would have to recoup that somewhere which would usually be in not paying for proper trained/intelligent staff, or in being slow with after-sales (if existent at all) and in not doing home visits. Again part of going with a premium product I guess, bit like going with a Beamer instead of a Ford. And I bet this forum is chock full of BM drivers!!!
     

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