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Renaming Manufacturer Products

Is it permissable to sell manufacturer's products under a different name?

     
4:46 pm on Jun 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Recently our team has been playing with the idea of selling our manufacturer's/suppliers products under our own name.

Not our company name, but rather just renaming the products themselves as a technique to keep our customers from comparing prices with other stores.

We realize that we may also lose customers coming in searching for that item, however, we believe we have access to customers that other retailers dont have and could maintain this customer base. It would also enable us to not focus so much on price matching and watching other retailers and focus more on customer service and other things.

We want out of the price matching and price undercutting game which we don't see as a winning battle with the margins we need to stay afloat.

Not sure of the legality, and would not be asking manufacturer for permission, just keeping it under the table. Renamed products would be on our website, but not renamed in our storefront.

Also, we are unsure of the possible repercussions should a customer order and have a product shipped with the different name on the paperwork/instructions/warranty which would be original.

Anybody tried this and how did it work out for you?
6:05 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The short answer is NO.

The longer answer is No, it is not permissible and might even land you in jail as this is a clear fraud and/or misrepresentation of tangible goods. In just about any country.

Then again, we can't give legal advice on the list, so consult an attorney (not the cops!) and see what that person has to say.
7:46 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Maybe not naming the item at all would be a solution. Just an internal product code.

Or describing what it is, rather then naming it.

For example, 'high performance tire' and listing features and benefits, rather then 'Goodyear eliminator radial'.

I cant see that as fraud or misrepresentation. May even be easier for people to understand over the fictional product names given to everything.
8:20 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How would that work? I can see having a category of Widgets.... but that category has Widgets that are made by Tom, Dick, or Harry in different parts of the world.... How do you sell those with a nondescript product code? And do you want to deal with the buyer backlash that begins: "Hey,. I thought this was a Tom Widget!..."

If the margin is too slim you are in the wrong business, or you have not located the right sources/funding to play the game.

In reality, however, the user will vote with their feet if you show a pic of a Nancy (your name) Widget and get a Tom Widget instead. THINK ABOUT IT!
8:25 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In second thought, I suppose you could sell a product by SPECIFICATION, ie,

"This Widget will do all of the following, much like other products on the web. Sold by specification, not manufacturer, though all products have an x year warranty and a satisfaction guaranteed, no questions asked, return policy."

....and you can back it up, of course. :)
8:54 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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as a technique to keep our customers from comparing prices with other stores

I really, really doubt this would help your company's overall reputation with customers.
10:38 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just wrote a reply then realised that tangor had said it already. If it isn't a niche where brand names matter then why tie yourself up listing identical widgets by three different suppliers that nobody has heard of anyway.
11:22 pm on June 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No, it is not permissible and might even land you in jail


Don't be too quick to assume that.

This happens in the clothing industry ... The FTC makes provision for garments to be given an individual store's or chain's label instead of naming the original designer.

The FTC has rules about what the labelling must say regarding care, country of origin etc. and as long as the specifics of those rules are met it's okay to sell a designer garment under a store label.

Consumers sometimes have mixed feelings about private labelling but the law does make provision for it,

I don't know if other industries get similar treatment from the FTC but don't toss out the idea of private labelling the goods you're selling until you've obtained qualified legal advice about what's possible / permissible under the law.
 

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