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Thomson requiring dealers to sign MAP and online sales policy

Published May 6, 2014

MACON, Ga. (BRAIN) — As of May 1, Thomson Bike Products is requiring retailers to have signed its minimum advertised price and online sales policies before they can order products from the company's distributors.

The policies have been in place for some time, said Thomson's David Parrett. However, many retailers were unaware of them, so Parrett began working with distributors last year to require the signatures and compliance. 

The MAP policy prohibits dealers from advertising prices below Thomson's published retail price list. As with most MAP policies, retailers are free to sell the products at any price, but they can't get around the policy by advertising that they will throw in extra freebies or coupons or, for example, advertising a price with a line through the figure. If a Thomson product is advertised as part of a bundle, the ad must make clear the full value of the Thomson product. 

Thomson's online sales policy forbids sale through third-party retailers, including Amazon.com, and auction houses such as eBay. Thompson encourages retailers to use SmartEtailing and/or the Buy Local Now program. The online policy also requires any site selling Thomson products to show contact information, including the shop's name (including a dba if the shop's e-commerce name is different), physical address, phone number and email address. 

"If you want to sell online, fine, but it needs to be a good retail experience, and that starts with identifying yourself," Parrett said. 

Parrett said about 1,250 stores have signed the policy so far, which he estimates is about half the active Thomson dealers. As the signed policies come in to Parrett, he is sharing the list with distributors at the end of each day.

A first violation of the policy will earn the retailer "direct contact" from Thomson or its distributor. Second and third violations earn a 30- and 90-day suspensions of sales, while a fourth violation leads to a permanent suspension of sales. 

Separately, Thomson has reminded its OEM customers that they are not allowed to distribute Thomson products into the aftermarket.

"Our goal is to make sure that Thomson Bike Products are not treated as commodities while we remain a company that creates and sells product that the local independent retailer can sell and service," Parrett said. 

More information: resellers.bikethomson.com.

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