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Bargain Shopping for Electronics Just Got Tougher

Sony and Samsung have reportedly tried to rein in discounts on televisions.

According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, Sony and Samsung -- two of the world’s largest television manufacturers -- "have begun trying to force retailers to rein in discounts on televisions, threatening to cut off those who sell TVs for below the manufacturer’s minimum prices."

Sony and Samsung have implemented this new policy to reap higher profits – from the wallets of consumers. The same news story also cited other electronics companies that have "tough policies restricting the prices at which their products can be sold…"

Until a few years ago, that kind of vertical price fixing was against the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court narrowly overturned the century-old ban on retail price maintenance in 2007. Since then I've been working to restore it.

As the chairman of the Senate Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights panel, I wrote legislation to overturn the court's decision. Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion, estimated that if only 10% of manufacturers engage in vertical price fixing, the volume of commerce affected would be $300 billion, costing the average family of four an additional $750 to $1,000 for retail goods every year.

My bill, the “Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act,” will allow retailers to sell goods below a threshold price set by manufacturers. I’m pleased that it was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last November, and I’ll continue to work to bring it before the full Senate for debate. Until then, I’m hopeful that Sony and Samsung and other manufacturers who have policies against discounting find that consumers will look elsewhere for affordable products.

As a businessman, I appreciate that retailers welcome flexibility in their business with customers. As a senator representing the people of Wisconsin, I know that discounting and discount stores play a vital role in family budgeting.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mau May 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I should refer to our form of government by it's proper term Constitutional Republic. We do not have a democratic form of government and our government is not a democracy.
robert heule May 24, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I agree that the US is a Constitutional Republic. Twice you referred to "democratic" in describing the Senator's party. I wrote that you should refer to the Democratic Party by spelling it with a capital D. in any event I was just f---in with ya.
Johnny Blade May 25, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Not a single Democrat voted in favor of ending FDA raids on raw milk farmers .. A Bill put forth by Rand Paul .. Thanks a lot Kohl .. you seem to be looking out for the little guy NOT .... retire already
$$andSense May 26, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Hey Craig, I agree about Herb, but not Herbie. You ever own a VW Beetle (I mean a type 1) ? Easiest and cheapest car to maintain, drive and mechanically tough as nails. Thanks Dr. Porsche! Good mileage too for the time. Just don't get into an accident with one but more survivable than a motorcycle. Kohl = worn out failure, Beetle = German engineeng success.
$$andSense May 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Well said JV. Time for the old coot to move on to something else besides doing nothing for us.

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