Friday, January 2, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Factory Authorized

This is apropos of nothing, or it may be a deep exploration of the recesses of consumer evolutionary psychology.

I have been reading (too many) post-Christmas newspapers and watching post-Christmas commercials, and many of the sales are not just sales, but "Factory Authorized" sales. My question is: why, as I consumer, do I care if the sale is factory authorized or not? If the dealer in question is pulling a fast one on those dopes back at the home office, why shouldn't I take some secret delight in participating in this subversion? Though I have no objection to retail price maintenance agreements, does this saturation proclaiming of factory authorization mean that these agreements are replete throughout industry?

I am perfectly willing to believe that there is a good reason for advertising the factory's assent to your prices (in a quarter page newspaper advertisement, taking two lines of 72 point type to tell consumers that ain't cheap, so you'd think it's accomplishing something). That said, it is a strange trope because -- to me, at least -- it conveys virtually no useful information. Experts and amateur theorists on consumer psychology, please reply. Plus, if "factory authorized" elicits some deep-seated positive consumer response, look for many "Factory Authorized PFF policy studies" in the coming year -- our swing shift does great work on public choice theory!

posted by Ray Gifford @ 10:58 AM | General