How can we protect our brand?
So, I work in sales for a small company in the outdoor industry. We try very hard to protect our authorized retailers. One of the ways we do this is by not selling to anyone who sells our products on EBay. We’ve stopped our relationships with several rogue dealers for this.
I recently became aware of a new Ebay seller offering brand new products on EBay for 10–20% less than our MSRP and MAP price. They had no contact info or website, so I assumed it was another rogue dealer, but their other items for sale didn’t match. I contacted them through Ebay and learned it was just one person who collected coupons for online retailers, then used the coupons to buy things online for less than retail. They charge shipping on their Ebay sales, but get free shipping from my authorized retailer (who of course has no idea). So it’s a complicated scheme so that my retailer drop ships to their customers and someone else profits.
This is appalling to me on a lot of levels. It undercuts my authorized dealers who are legitimate businesses with overhead. It cheapens the brand. And it opens up a lot of liability issues. For instance, who is responsible for a warranty claim? Who is responsible if a package is damaged in shipping?
I’ve contacted my retailer but I’m at a loss for how to address this with the Ebayer. I don’t think they think there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing, but it’s caused a lot of heartburn on my end. We need to control our sales channels because our products are fairly specialized.
Does anyone know of some resources I can tap into? Is there a forum for manufacturers selling online? We belong to quite a few trade groups, but nobody has a forum. Have you dealt with something like this? If so, how did you handle it?
I’m all ears, hoping for some expert Fluther advice.