How to Write A MAP Violation Letter

HOW TO WRITE A MAP VIOLATION NOTICE

If Thomas Jefferson was writing a MAP policy, it might begin with the words, “All violators are treated equal.” That's because T.J. knows that all sellers must be treated the same.

In fact, the creation of a MAP or Authorized reseller policy is a declaration made by a brand that informs a reseller about the rules of doing business. A MAP pricing policy specifically refers to the price at which a store may “advertise” certain products. The ultimate sale price is not a consideration. The policy defines a violation and states the penalties for non-compliance.

Hopefully, determining realistic advertised prices will prevent any violations, but if a reseller still goes lower, they need to be informed of the infraction. With ecommerce MAP violations, this is usually done via email notice. Not only should a MAP policy be reviewed by an attorney, but the written contents of a MAP pricing violation letter should be as well. If the brand chooses to write the warning letter(s) themselves, here are some considerations:

  1. Tone – Many companies are concerned that they should keep it friendly. That’s fine, so long as it’s also firm and professional. Even if the violator(s) are long-time customers, the fact that they’ve violated the brand’s policy shows that they’re viewing it as a business.
  2. Accurately reflect policy – If the MAP policy states that a retailer gets three strikes before a penalty is assessed (whatever it may be), then make sure there are three notices; each one appropriately addressing what is outlined in the policy.
  3. Provide all relevant information - One of the rules of MAP policy enforcementis that there can be no negotiating with non-compliant retailers. Therefore, make sure the email MAP violation letters include everything a merchant needs to understand what they did and how to fix it.
  • Embed a list of the violated products. Preferably, the list includes the products, violation date(s), MAPP price, violation price, and a link to a time-stamped image of the listing.
  • Attach a copy of the policy. Some retailers will claim that they never knew about the MAP policy, or that they “forgot” what the penalties are. If a PDF is attached to the email, they can’t claim ignorance.
  • Attach a copy of the MAPP pricelist – Although the notice will include the pricing for the specific products in violation, a comprehensive product list will let them know what pricing is on everything.

Here’s an example of a well-written MAPP violation letter template: 

TO: {MerchantName}
FROM: {BrandName}
RE: Notice of Violation of Minimum Advertised Price Policy (MAPP)

Based on an investigation by {AccountName} (“Company”), it has been determined that {MerchantName} (“Reseller”) has violated the Minimum Advertised Price Policy (MAPP) issued by Company (the “Policy”), in the following manner (various other terms are defined in the Policy): 
 
[Insert list of MAP violations found]
 
Consequences - Consistent with the Policy, Reseller must immediately adjust all pricing to comply with the Policy immediately. The failure to do so will result in a second violation.
 
Each violation of the Policy is cumulative. Except as otherwise provided in the Policy, the consequences of each violation can take effect regardless of whether the consequences for the preceding violations are still running. The same acts or failures to act may result in multiple violations.
 
The Policy – [EXPLANATION THAT THE POLICY IS ATTACHED]
 
Questions – [EXPLANATION OF HOW A SELLER CAN QUESTION A VIOLATION OR GET CLARIFICATION ON POLICY]
 
[INSERT CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MAP-SPECIFIC CORRESPONDENCE]
 
Attachments: MAP Policy, MAP pricing.xls
 
Brands that have a lot of online sellers generally find it more efficient and effective to have a product tracking service like MAPP Trap manage the issuance and tracking of MAP policy infraction, unauthorized seller, cease and desist notices, and more. The software has attorney-written templates and is simple to use. No matter who sends the notices, however, just remember that it’s essential to follow through on whatever penalties are cited.
 
Although it’s a sure thing that the founding fathers would have bought their parchment, feather quills and ink on Amazon, it’s unclear if they would have written excellent MAP violation emails. But no matter who has written the notice(s), sent and acted upon they must be.
 
To get information on how MAPP Trap can automate this very cumbersome, but essential task and ask to see well-written legal templates, contact info@mapptrap.com.
 

Not sure what should be in your MAP Policy? We can help you figure that out.
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