MAP and MSRP practices of online resellers - Page 2

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
Ken Fox

#11: Post by Ken Fox »

Jim Schulman and I DID get a "better" deal than the listed suggested price when we bought our two grinders together more than a year ago. Some of this can be accounted for by currency conversion rates (which went up afterwards, apparently when these suggested prices were set, and have since descended again).

I wouldn't read as much into the pricing that we got as Jim has. I think we were given a good deal at the wholesale rate (I remember them saying that) because there was no US distribution system at that time. And, as Chris as said, he negotiates prices so you'd pay significantly less than the $300 premium I cited.

In the defense of dealers, we received two very poorly packaged grinders each of which was damaged in some way (mine so severely that it became unusable). We had no USA based dealer to help us with those issues and became reliant on ourselves for the repair work. In addition, Compak was not very attentive to us as customers and it took repeated phone calls with several people over many weeks to get them to actually ship the grinders to us. There is and never will be a "free lunch."

A good dealer, like Chris, offers something in exchange for not selling his goods at his own cost (which would of course put him out of business rather rapidly, to say nothing about what it would do to his golf club membership :mrgreen: ). Chris offers service and he stands behind what he sells.

I "saved" about $300 on my grinder purchase, made at a time when Chris didn't sell these grinders and when in fact there was no USA source for them. I suffered much more than $300 worth of aggravation with this broken grinder which Compak USA ultimately replaced, not to mention not even having the use of this grinder for many months of my "ownership" of same. Given a choice of a painless purchase from Chris of this same product, with Chris standing behind it, I'd gladly pay that $300 before experiencing what I experienced a year and a half ago.

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955


#12: Post by Phaelon56 »

It's not easy being a retailer - online or otherwise - especially in states such as NY and NJ with high state taxes and so may business un-friendly regulations. It really doesn't matter whether you call it MAP or MSRP - manufacturers of many, many products - coffee related and otherwise - are legally allowed to cut off supply to a retailer if that retailer publicly advertises at less than the stipulated price.

Go to or countless other respectable purveyors of consumer electronics etc. - they are doing exactly the same thing. The web site will state either "Add to cart to see our low price" or "Call us for our low price". Heck - in this state (NY) the state government even controls the minimum price at which liquor can be sold - not just advertised - there is actually a minimum selling price.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of calling or clicking to get the price then look for a different vendor and take your chances. It's unfair and a cheap shot to berate any honest and ethical vendor for doing what they are obligated to do in order to sell a given brand of product.

User avatar

#13: Post by shadowfax »

Stuggi wrote:It's still a bad business practice, and should be outlawed since it implies that you get a HUGE bargain to make you spend money just to get it so incredibly cheap. It's designed to support impulse shopping so the buyer does not compare your business to other vendors that might be able to offer a better deal. It's not fair, it's deceiving and it's in the gray-zone of what goes under the terms of an open market, and should therefore be outlawed.

To you and me the above might sound silly since we understand concepts like MSRP and MAP, but does you average American?
I'm not a baby, and I don't expect to be babied by my government. I don't appreciate when it babies others. To whit: Caveat emptor. It's as old as time. MAP might potentially--in some cases--be a monopolistic practice. In other cases, it's a perfectly defensible practice. If I make a product, and you want to sell it, why shouldn't I be able to tell you, at a minimum, what to sell it for? If you don't like it, maybe you should buy something else, rather than complain to the government? But I wasn't talking about that. I was talking about MSRP. Why in God's name would any government care about that? There are much, much bigger problems in this world that governments need to take on.

I really would like to know--does it matter to your 'average American' (MSRP)? It's not like it changes the price. And even MAP--what does it matter? You don't like the price, buy another grinder! It may be the stupidest thing ever, but it's not the government's job to make sure that you can buy an expensive coffee grinder from a certain brand for a 'fair' price.

Wilco: You accused two of this site's sponsors of cheating (Terry Z and Jim P), people, to put it bluntly, you don't even know. You asserted that what they were doing was cheating, but, personally, I think that's a load of bollocks. They're giving you a good deal, regardless. Is that something to be ashamed of? Alas. This business, as Jim Schulman's posts point out, is rather complicated. There are some bad men in the business, but Terry Z, Jim P, and Chris N are not among them. I don't think it was prudent for you to call out blame on people based on what you read on a website: you don't know the whole story.
Nicholas Lundgaard

User avatar
Supporter ♡

#14: Post by GC7 »

I bought a Compak grinder from Chris' Coffee. I found them as a dealer through this and other sites where their customer service was praised. I did not know of the Compak brand before calling (Mary) and spending A LOT of time on the phone discussing MY specific needs. This was before any sale was assured for Chris. I felt comfortable with the choice in good part because of the extensive conversation. The price in the end was cheaper then the MACAP I was thinking of buying and I did not mind even paying the NY tax to get the service I needed as a beginner who does not know the ins and outs of home espresso.

Well their service came in handy again this week when I noticed what could be a small problem with my machine. I got tech help on the phone. He could not answer immediately but went into the shop to take apart a K3 touch and called me back within an hour or so to tell me that I did not have any problem at all and my grinder was fine.

Chris and co-workers - you have a very satisfied customer. (next time I might ask for that discount you mentioned to ask about :lol: )

NoMilkToday (original poster)

#15: Post by NoMilkToday (original poster) »

Nicholas: it certainly was not my intention this thread developed in a pricing strategy discussion. Far from it. What I do know is that the concept of MSRP (not sure about MAP) is outlawed in the European Communion for a reason: to protect citizens in improving on the transparency of prices. And some citizens need more protection (or "babieing") from the government than others, would you not say?

Now, what I learned from all posts above is this: two internet retailers use MSRP plus MAP and one internet retailer uses MAP only. Further I learned all three are site sponsors, not bad men and give good service and deals. And then, all three are successfully being forced by an alien importer to use MAP. Last: you and some others think there is no problem.

Well, as I am not an American citizen and also respect everyone's opinion, I just hope for you all - if you don't mind - that your new government will rollback all consumer hostile laws of the present administration.

Regards. Wilco


#16: Post by zin1953 »

NoMilkToday wrote:What I do know is that the concept of MSRP (not sure about MAP) is outlawed in the European Communion for a reason
I cannot -- nor would I attempt to -- speak for the European Union (I thought Communion took place in church?), but let's be honest about it: a whole lot of incredibly silly and overly complex regulations come out of Brussels! Certainly the EU is not completely immune from the foolish regulations that are all-too-often created by the US government and their bureaucrats.

That said, do not confuse MSRP with MAP. They are two very different things. MSRP is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, but there is nothing -- no law, no contract, no agreement, no "secret handshake," that forces any retailer to actually adhere to the MSRP. Alcoholic beverages are among the most highly regulated products in the US, and people routinely sell wines below the MSRP -- or perhaps, I should say the WSRP.

The same cannot be said for MAP. There is a legally binding agreement that the retailer enters into with the manufacturer (or, in this case, importer) IF said retail vendor wants to carry the carry the line of products offered by the manufacturer /importer. The agreement says to the retailer, Thou Shall Not Advertise Any Price lower Than X. If any vendor DOES advertise the item at a lower price, the manufacture/importer can "fire" the retailer as an authorized reseller of their brand, etc., etc.

If you are a highly respected vendor, like Chris' Coffee Service, you may have to hold your nose while you sign the agreement because you want to offer your customers those products, but you can certainly say in print this is a MAP and the customer can call for a better price. See here for an example of what I mean.

A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

User avatar

#17: Post by Marshall »

NoMilkToday wrote:Nicholas: it certainly was not my intention this thread developed in a pricing strategy discussion. Far from it. What I do know is that the concept of MSRP (not sure about MAP) is outlawed in the European Communion for a reason: to protect citizens in improving on the transparency of prices.
I believe you are mistaken. You are confusing "resale price maintenance" (enforced retail prices) with the advertisement of the manufacturer's suggested retail prices ("MSRP"). Like the EU, the U.S. outlaws the former, but not the latter.

Here is a link to a British bookseller offering the title "Competition Law in the European Community" :D with the MSRP plainly listed: ... 0749405021.
Los Angeles


#18: Post by JimG »

Wow. Truly remarkable that the "consumer hostile laws of the present administration" are so far-reaching :twisted:



#19: Post by IMAWriter »

NoMilkToday wrote: [snipped]
Let's hope your new president will rollback these super-capitalistic measures of the present president.
As we here don't comment on your politics in the Netherlands, I, for one would rather you keep the politics out of your subsequent posts.
This is a coffee forum.
Another point if I may. Chris is one of the most respected vendors in the business. He was only, as we say here in the States "man-ing up." Letting you know his problem with your statement. It was a private email, and should have stayed private.
LMWDP #187

NoMilkToday (original poster)

#20: Post by NoMilkToday (original poster) »

Yes, I stand corrected. I have wrongly translated the Dutch word "Gemeenschap" into "Communion" instead of "Community". Thanks for pointing out that I have to study harder in writing English as good as a native.

And yes, I too believe that Chris N is a good vendor. Even more, if I were American I probably would have been a customer of his too (especially in him selling not only the K10 but also the Duetto). The link you posted, Jason, proves this is an OK guy. People are invited to call for a better price in the case of a MAP-price. When browsing the sites of the other retailers, and seeing in some (not all!) cases products priced with MSRP, MAP and the difference between these, called Discount, one has not the idea the call for a better price; instead one thinks to get a great deal, because of the huge Discount. I already shared my thoughts about this practice with you.

And yes, I also believe private email should stay private. However, in his public (!) post Chris N put words in my mouth/post that were not there. He wrote "Excuse me but BOTH companies DO NOT practice what you are referring to. I do not and NEVER have!" Well, I never said he did, but was pointing to the other two internet retailers. So, when I received a private email in which he asked me to apologize on the public forum, I think his email - in combination with his public post - lost the right the stay private and could justifiably be shared in public. If you think otherwise, so be it.

And yes, this is a coffee site. So, believe me, I am very much surprised, to say the least, in how easily and fast the sharing with you all about my experiences with a big conical developed in the present discussion. Certainly not my intention, understand that.

Therefore I say, let's go back to the one goal we all share: how can we improve on the quality of our coffee? For instance, by using a K10 and a LM single basket, the original thread (thanks for splitting, Dan).

Regards. Wilco