Invacare adds teeth to pricing policy

Friday, July 11, 2014

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has come back with what it believes is a more effective pricing policy for products marketed and sold over the Internet.

The biggest difference between the old policy, terminated May 22, and the new Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Policy, introduced July 7: increased accountability, says Judy Kovacs, vice president of customer service and sales operations.

“The new policy has specific actions that we will take if an e-commerce provider doesn’t comply,” she said. “The old policy didn’t have specifics.”

Per the new policy, Invacare has specified minimum advertised prices for products that it has designated “MAP Products.” It’s a violation of the policy for an e-commerce provider to list advertised prices for such products that are lower than the prices specified by the company.

Upon first violation, Invacare reserves the right to place a shipment on hold for two business days and, upon second violation, to place a shipment on hold for 30 business days. Subsequent violations may result in sanctions for longer periods of time, or suspension or termination of accounts.

The policy allows Invacare to strike a balance between protecting its brick-and-mortar providers and encouraging e-commerce providers to market and sell its products, Kovacs says.

“Brick-and-mortar companies are out there doing a great service, but we realize other channels exist,” she said. “E-commerce is a strong purchasing solution for people in this country.”

Kovacs added: “E-commerce providers also want a fair playing field.”

The policy also allows Invacare to “maintain the integrity of our products,” Kovacs says.

“We're not in the game of selling on price," she said. "We have value-add, quality products.”

Invacare will use a service to monitor compliance with its MAP Policy. The company also has staff, internally, that is responsible for managing the policy, Kovacs says.

Ultimately, however, it’s at the discretion of the e-commerce provider to adhere to the policy, she acknowledges.