Monday, August 19th, 2019

‘Tis the season to pay too much


How’s your Christmas shopping going? Does it frustrate you to know that your friends in other states may be getting deals you can’t?

Unfortunately, the law does not just affect the price of cheap computers. Shoppers online who see special deals on all sorts of potential Christmas presents might see the indicator that the price advertised is not the price available to them, “prices may vary by store.”

Wisconsin’s minimum mark up law has different components to it. For consumer goods, the law mandates a price floor of cost plus transportation costs. Retailers cannot offer special deals on items below cost in an effort to draw customers into the stores with the hope they will buy other items as well.

That special television you saw advertised online cheaper than you ever thought possible? It might just be a mirage in the consumer desert.

If you are not ready for all of this Christmas shopping yet, think about Wisconsin’s minimum mark-up law will affect your Thanksgiving. Thanks to a federal judge, the part of Wisconsin’s minimum mark-up law that affects the price of gasoline was re-instated in September. Different categories of fuel sales have different mark-ups, but a retailer who is not a gasoline wholesaler or a refiner has to sell gasoline at cost minus any trade discounts plus all applicable taxes plus transportation costs plus any other costs plus 6%.

Even if a gas station attached to a grocery store wanted to sell you cheap gasoline in the hopes you will buy a hot dog from the rotisserie grill, the law requires the retailer to charge you the full price and then some. The Thanksgiving trip over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house is made unnecessarily expensive because the legislature refused to repeal the law.

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