Did You Know That Manufacturers Can Now Set a Minimum Retail Price?

  • January 31, 2009
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Supreme Court

I was reading in the new issue of Internet Retailer about the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned a 94 year old antitrust precedent. Manufacturers and distributors now in some circumstances can set a minimum price allowed for that item to sell. Does this seem a little unfair, may be a little anti capitalist? It does to me.

How will this affect me?

People all flocking to the Internet to find the lowest price on goods. Brick and mortar retailers are having a hard time keeping up with consumers need to find the lowest price. Solution to this problem, “price fixing,” says the Supreme Court.

It may be a little more nuanced than this, but that’s my impression.

“Minimum resale price maintenance can stimulate interbrand competition,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. The practice “has the potential to give consumers more options so that they can choose among low-price, low-service brands; high-price, high-service brands; and brands that fall in between.”

So forcing retailers to set a min. price and not choose for themselves is good thing? Am I missing something? I guess it’s Capitalism with constraints. Capitalism*

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