Another Nikon price increase in the US?

Read also my update to this post.

So far, I have received two separate emails from two different major US retailers indicating a price increase on all Nikon products starting on October 12th (or 16th), 2011. I have removed the store names in order to protect my sources. If you have planned to buy something from Nikon, now will be a good time to do it. Check out the Nikon Buying Guide for some price comparison (the page will take some time to load because it has to collect prices from several different websites). Check also the current Nikon rebates.

First email:

On Sept 1, Nikon announced that there will be a new pricing policy going into effect on all Nikon DSLR, Lens and Flash product.  This will go live October 16, 2011.  What does this mean?  Any retailer that prices Nikon DSLR, Lens or Flash product below their National price will be in a violation of the policy (Unilateral Pricing Policy = Maximum Value Policy (MVP).

Benefits to the Policy

According to Nikon this policy is designed to allow customers to make purchasing decisions based on service provided and not have to worry about hunting for a better price.

Violations listed:  Any pricing discounts on Nikon MVP product outside of the approved national promotions, free promotional gift cards tied to a customer purchasing MVP product, company or category wide savings that discount MVP product, sales through *** for Business that include a bulk discount, and employee discount.

Not considered a violation:  Corporate generated bundles can be up to 10% value of the MVP product price (example given: D3100 at $649 could have a bundle savings value of $64.90 or less), category wide free shipping, category wide financing, open item and demo model sales as long as they are clearly marked as such.

What happens if we break the policy?

Violations are based on an accumulation of company-wide violations, not each individual store.  So if three different stores receive separate violations it equals our third violation.  First violation will result in Nikon canceling any further inventory and canceling -- Company wide -- all promotional funding on the violated SKU for 60 days.  Second violation in 18 months will result in Nikon canceling any further inventory and canceling all promotional funding -- Company wide -- on the violated SKU for six months.  Third violation will result in Nikon canceling any further inventory and canceling all promotional funding -- Company wide -- on the violated SKU for 1 year.  This is a major risk to *** business, make sure the importance of accurate pricing is communicated.  Any MVP violation by any store or online will be a strike against *** with a major impact to the business.

Second email:

Dear Customer,

Our records indicate that you have requested and received a quote from us which includes Nikon Equipment. As a loyal customer we would like to inform you that the Nikon equipment is due to be marked as "unilaterally" priced. This means that *** will not be able to honor the price on your Quote after 10/12/11 for certain Nikon items but instead will have to offer the new unilateral price. If you would like to purchase the equipment at the Quoted price please do so on or before 10/12/11. Moving forward we will be unable to discount some Nikon items beyond the unilateral price specified by the manufacturer.

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