Muscley maufacturers and irregular internet retailers
I'm trying to be a good consumer, really I am.
I am in the process of replacing a Franke faucet with itself. Online, not surprisingly, there is a spread of available prices, all considerably less than retail. My most-trusted internet retailer, also a brick-and-morter place in their own locale, will price-match, but not down to the lowest price out there; says that's below their cost.
So the question is, why? how? Well, says they, perhaps it's open box or not really as stated or different finish, or they're not authorized, etc etc.
So I call the less-reputable place, who I have, as it happens, ordered from before. It was not the most pleasant of experiences and I'd prefer to stay away from them but am not calling them out as rank thieves. They say -- look at our home page; we're authorized retailers, no way is this open box, we just do a higher volume so get a better price. Etc etc.
So I call Franke: is it true that they're authorized, etc -- because in the past, I've discovered - and it's been noted here by others - that claims of "authorized retailness" may be false.
On Franke's website is a page of -- how do they put it: "policy violators". Included is the less-reputable as well as my fav store. Also noted is that this list was put in place in 2009. I asked the Franke rep what was the procedure for being placed on this list; why is the company on this list; do they know about it? is there a policy for removal... all of which I'm assured there is, etc etc.
Meanwhile they have a far shorter list of "authorized websites" that includes some outfits that I was under the impression -- impression only, mind you -- were a little less than up-and-up, as well as some that I happen to know are very fine.
So what gives??? I call back my retailer of choice, they are unaware of the list, or at least the sales rep is. Point out the old date. Etc etc.
I didn't even bother calling back the cheapest guys, the ones I don't much love.
So .... tell me again why does all this happen? One reason, evidently, for being placed on a "violator" list is that the company may sell the product at less than the manufacturer is happy with. I still don't get why this is legit. Why this isn't price-fixing. Because they're unsuccessful at fixing the price? Is that why it isn't "price fixing"?
Yes, Virginia, I know there are liars and cheats out there, but when I can't I even tell which is which but they're all pointing fingers at each other, I am just confused. I want to be a moral consumer, but I can't even figure out how to do that.
(Did figure out the sales tax bit though. Not sure why I didn't think of this before, but nowadays, I look preferentially for a retailer in my state (and still cheap) so that I may have the goods delivered, at a reasonable rate, and still fork over a penny or two for the school librarian. True this doesn't address the brick-mortar problem, but at least it covers the tax issue).