Avoiding MAP - A Major Benefit of Being an LPS Client

Avoiding MAP - A Major Benefit of Being an LPS Client

My career in the lab distribution business is now entering its sixth decade. I started with Scientific Products after finishing the Indiana University Medical Technology program and earning my MT (ASCP) certificate in 1971.

When I began my sales career, I was made immediately aware that there were certain products, namely glassware from Corning and Kimble, that were considered “fair trade” items. This meant that there was no discounting, and that the prices of any glassware from either brand was the same - list price.

Customers hated being given this information, and I was chewed out on several occasions, apparently because I was the messenger. In 1976, Congress enacted the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, which put an end to this practice. If you want to understand the very interesting story of Fair Trade law, I recommend this excellent and interesting article.

Today’s version of the “fair trade” concept is MAP (minimum advertised price) policies which have, so far, been determined by the courts to be legal in most states but not in certain countries such as the UK.

MAP pricing policy is a manufacturer’s practice of establishing the lowest price that a retailer can advertise for its products. This means that even if the retailer wanted to offer an incredibly low sale price, they wouldn't be able to advertise it as such – instead opting for something like "20% off MSRP!" or “CALL FOR PRICING!”

Am I stuck paying the MAP price?

No. The restriction is only on the advertised price. If the seller wishes to sell to you at a price below the MAP price, and that price is not advertised, he/she is free to do so.

How can I tell if an item I see on Labproservices.com has a MAP policy?

If you look for the same item on other websites and see that the identical price is displayed, this item may be subject to MAP pricing. However, you can never be certain.

To avoid MAP pricing, request that the item you are interested in be added to your catalog

The easiest way to find out your price from LPS (based on our cost-plus model, never on a list-less basis) just ask that the item be added to your catalog or quoted. In nearly every case, you will receive a much better price than the advertised price.

Does LPS support MAP pricing?

If we want to continue to be a distributor, we have no choice. I personally believe this is restraint of trade and it should become illegal under the antitrust provisions in the same way fair trade policies were. But until that happens, we must continue to adhere to these policies or forfeit our right to distribute these products.

Closing thoughts at the end of another year

The first thought that comes to mind is how grateful we all are at LPS to have you as one of our clients. To those of you who have been clients since our founding in 2013, my hat is off to you.

For the many new clients who have joined us since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, thank you for considering LPS. Having been in this business so long, I know how difficult the decision is to consider a new supplier. It’s a leap of faith that only time and a track record of successful performance can turn into trust and eventually loyalty. I thank you for making that leap.

I will close by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a very happy holiday season from the Tyrrell family, Lisa, Erik, Holly and Ann at LPS.

happy holidays