Photograph by Norberto Duarte/AFP/GettyImages.
It might be too late to buy that deep-discounted new flat-screen television you've had your eye on.
Samsung and Sony, two of the world's largest TV makers, are asking U.S. retailers to curb their discounts in an effort to protect their profit margins.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the electronics companies' new policies prevent American retailers from advertising or selling televisions in stores or online for less than the minimum prices set by the manufacturers.
The Supreme Court has ruled companies have the right to set a minimum price for which their products can be advertised, although it is unclear how much leverage they have to enforce the minimum prices—although that may be mostly moot if consumers balk at the higher prices.
Bloomberg reports that TV imports declined last year for the first time since 2004, with record losses for Asian manufacturing companies like Samsung and Sony. The prices for flat-screens have likewise dropped for the past three years, from a little less than $650 in 2009 to $545 last year, according to industry numbers.
Sony’s policy toward U.S. retailers went into effect last month, and covers 120 of its television models, along with some computers, video and audio equipment. Samsung also issued its new price policy in April, and is looking to balance the budget by introducing new technology at a higher cost.
Apple Insider points out that this is not the first time technology companies have used this strategy. Apple has strict rules on iPod prices and Sony has previous set minimum costs for PlayStation consoles.