Statement with respect to advertising allowances and other merchandising payments and services.
A packer sells directly to some independent retailers, sells to the headquarters of chains and of retailer-owned cooperatives, and also sells to wholesalers. The direct-buying independent retailers, the headquarters of chains and of retailer-owned cooperatives, and the wholesalers' independent retailer customers are customers of the packer. Individual retail outlets which are part of the chains or members of the retailer-owned cooperatives are not customers of the packer.
A packer may properly offer to pay a specified part (say 50 percent) of the cost of local advertising up to an amount equal to a set percentage (such as 5 percent) of the dollar volume of such purchases during a specified time.
A packer may properly place in reserve for each customer a specified amount of money for each unit purchased and use it to reimburse those customers for the cost of advertising and promoting the packer's product during a specified time.
A packer's plan should not provide an allowance on a basis that has rates graduated with the amount of goods purchased, as for instance, 1 percent of the first $1,000 purchases per month, 2 percent on second $1,000 per month, and 3 percent on all over that.
A packer has a wholesaler-oriented plan directed to wholesalers distributing its products to retailing customers. It should notify all the competing wholesalers distributing its products of the availability of this plan, but the packer is not required to notify retailing customers.
A packer who sells on a direct basis to some retailers in an area, and to other retailers in the area through wholesalers, has a plan for the promotion of its products at the retail level. If the packer directly notifies not only all competing direct purchasing retailers but also all competing retailers purchasing through the wholesalers as to the availability, terms and conditions of the plan, the packer is not required to notify its wholesalers.
A packer regularly engages in promotional programs and the competing customers include large direct purchasing retailers and smaller customers who purchase through wholesalers. The packer may encourage, but not coerce, the retailer purchasing through a wholesaler to designate a wholesaler as its agent for receiving notice of, collecting, and using promotional allowances for the customer. If a wholesaler or other intermediary by written agreement with a retailer is actually authorized to collect promotional payments from suppliers, the packer may assume that notice of and payment under a promotional plan to such wholesaler or intermediary constitutes notice and payment to the retailer.
(A packer should not rely on a written agreement authorizing an intermediary to receive notice of and/or payment under a promotional plan for a retailer if the packer knows, or should know, that the retailer was coerced into signing the agreement. In addition, a packer should assume that an intermediary is not authorized to receive notice of and/or payment under a promotional plan for a retailer unless there is a written authorization signed by such retailer.)
Code of Federal Regulations
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A packer offers a plan of short term store displays of varying sizes, including some which are suitable for each of its competing customers and at the same time are small enough so that each customer may make use of the promotion in a practical business sense. The plan also calls for uniform, reasonable certification of performance by the retailer. Because they are reluctant to process a reasonable amount of paperwork, some small retailers do not participate. This fact is not deemed to place a packer in violation of Item 3(c) and it is under no obligation to provide additional alternatives.
A packer offers a plan for cooperative advertising on radio, television, or in newspapers of general circulation. 1 Because the purchases of some of its customers are too small, this offer is not “functionally available” to them. The packer should offer them alternative(s) on proportionally equal terms that are usable by them and suitable for their business.
1 In order to avoid the tailoring of promotional programs that discriminate against particular customers or class of customers, the packer in offering to pay allowances for newspaper advertising should offer to pay the same percentage of the cost of newspaper advertising for all competing customers in a newspaper of the customer's choice, or at least in those newspapers that meet the requirements for second class mail privileges.
A customer subject to the Act should not induce or receive an allowance in excess of that offered in the packer's advertising plan by billing the packer at “vendor rates” or for any other amount in excess of that authorized in the packer's promotion program.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0580-0015)
[58 FR 52886, Oct. 13, 1993; 58 FR 58902, Nov. 4, 1993, as amended at 68 FR 75388, Dec. 31, 2003]