Why TVs cost about the same in every store and online

Geoffrey Morrison / CNET

If you have tried to buy a new tv Lately, you might have noticed that the prices are generally the same for every model of TV, regardless of the store or online seller that sells it. It is also not a coincidence now an accident. This is called UPP, or Unilateral Pricing Policy, and this is how manufacturers force retailers to stick to specific prices. This means there won’t be as many crazy discounts, no random deals on well-known models, and very little (let’s be honest here) price competition. There are many exceptions, of course, and not all stores join the UPP, but most major retailers do.

Surprisingly, it’s legal. Read on for more information.

Why TVs cost the same everywhere

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Brett Pearce / CNET

UPP is nothing new. Apple and Bose have been doing this for years and more recently Samsung, LG, Sony, and other TV makers have done it with TVs. This means that if you buy a new TV, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and your local electronics chain will likely all sell it for the same price. Save your gasoline, or more likely your clicks, by comparing different prices from store to store.

How is this legal? Good question. My legal skills are limited to a course I took mostly in college and a few reruns of Law & Order, but here’s what I found: While outright pricing is illegal, a company can do business (or not) with whoever it wants. So when a company says, “The UPP on this TV is $ 1,000,” they’re actually saying, “If you charge less than $ 1,000 for that TV, we might stop sending you TVs. ”

In other words, if you mention the extortion again, I’m going to have my legs broken.

What is the UPP

Geoffrey Morrison / CNET

Sneaky, right? So if Sam’s Screen Shack wants to sell a genuine Panaphonics TV at a loss to attract people, they absolutely can. However, Panaphonics can then choose to cut ties with the store.

The beauty of this is that TV companies are not allowed to put pressure on specific prices, only involve a threat if pricing is not respected. An explicit threat would be pricing, an implicit threat is UPP. Huzzah!

Manufacturers claim that UPP protects their resellers, and in a way, that’s true. For example, BuyCheapTVsNowLOLZ.com probably doesn’t have a store that you can return to, or any staff that you can complain to. I’m sure Best Buy and the like probably have no problem with UPP because it allows them to charge a price that allows them to make a profit. This benefit then covers physical locations and staff, and reduces the number of “showrooming” cases, where customers watch a television in a store, then buy it online.

Amazon was less excited about the idea when it first started to appear. Ben Hartman, vice president of consumer electronics for Amazon, was interviewed on UPP for Twice magazine in 2013.

“We believe in providing the best possible value to our customers and we want Amazon to be the place they trust to find competitive prices. We also believe that it is in the long-term interest of manufacturers to focus on a fair and transparent shopping experience. that best meets customer needs. We do not believe that price controls are in the best interest of customers or support innovation. In any case, Amazon will always set its selling prices independently.

At the end of the line

The good news is that there are a lot of great and inexpensive TVs out there. Value for money has never been better. However, huge TV discounts during the holiday shopping season are usually limited to unique TVs specific to a certain store.

But keep an eye on the sales. UPP doesn’t mean that TVs never go on sale, just that if there is a sale in one store, it’s probably the same price drop in other stores.


In addition to covering television and other display technology, Geoff organizes photographic tours of museums and cool places around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, voyages epics on the 10,000 mile route, etc. Discover Tech Treks for all its tours and adventures.

He wrote a bestselling science fiction novel about city-sized submarines, as well as a sequel. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and his YouTube channel.


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