SNEWSÂ® received the following email from our anonymous news tip service -- www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/got_a_tip.html:
United Cutlery is knowingly allowing some of its distributors to sell directly to the public at dealer cost. As dealers paying dealer cost, there is no way we can compete when our competitors are allowed to pay less. Today the culprit is www.worldofweapons.net.
They buy from United as a distributor and sell to the public from their website and on eBay, despite their 'Buying Policy.' I have personally notified United Cutlery of this to no avail.
As dealers and honest distributors we need to band together as we are all affected by this unfair pricing. I urge you to contact your United Cutlery rep and demand that they either enforce their own guidelines for distributors or sell to us all at distributor pricing. When the public can buy these products for the same price as us, there will be no need for dealers. United Cutlery's lack of action amounts to preferential treatment of these type of "rouge" (SIC) dealers and in the long run will result in making them essentially the exclusive United Cutlery dealers, as none of us will be able to compete.
A Pissed off United Cutlery Dealer
We contacted Jessica Hall-Colavecchio, director of sales and marketing for United Cutlery, who told SNEWSÂ® that as soon as we forwarded her the notice from the upset dealer, United Cutlery began an investigation.
"We investigated the notice you received and have determined the source and we are taking immediate corrective action," said Hall-Colavecchio.
Hall-Colavecchio told us that in each case, United Cutlery sets out to determine if the dealer is buying directly from the company or from a distributor. If the dealer is buying from the company, it becomes easier to deal with. If the dealer is buying from a distributor, then it gets a bit more complicated.
"When a dealer buys from a distributor, we do not have a lot of control," said Hall-Colavecchio. "We can't put ourselves in the position of possibly violating trade agreements, fair trade acts and other laws protecting trade."
Sometimes, the dealer United Cutlery contacts is not aware they are doing something wrong, but more often than not, Hall-Colavecchio told us, the dealer is fully aware that their actions are in violation of dealer agreements.
If a dealer is selling on eBay, well, that's a monster that no one can control, according to Hall-Colavecchio. "We shut one down and the same business appears again, selling under a different name."
United Cutlery does take any complaint of illegitimate sales very seriously, Hall-Colavecchio assured us. She encouraged any dealer with evidence of illegitimate sales to contact United's customer service, and if no one there can help, to contact her directly at 865-428-2532, ext. 3022.
Hall-Colavecchio added that United has an entire team dedicated to chasing illegitimate sales -- policing eBay, corresponding with attorneys regarding possible counterfeit violations, and more.
"It takes a lot of time, and no one wants to understand how much time and investment we make to handle the problems that crop up," said Hall-Colavecchio.
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