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Mercury Marine Uses Bully Tactics Against Small Business

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Mercury Marine Uses Bully Tactics Against Small Business

Old 11-28-2019, 05:11 AM
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Default Mercury Marine Uses Bully Tactics Against Small Business

I really didn't want to have to do this but I think people should be aware of the bully tactics at play with some manufacturers. This is the second notice of this type I've received. Without further adieu, this was received from Mercury on the 11/21/19:

Dear maxmarineelectronics.com,



maxmarineelectronics.com has been identified as selling Quicksilver products on the Internet.

We are unable to identify you as an Authorized Internet Reseller of our Quicksilver products. maxmarineelectronics.com is not authorized to sell the below Quicksilver products on the Internet.

In order to sell Quicksilver products on the internet, you MUST become a Quicksilver Authorized Internet Dealer. If you wish to apply for Internet authorization, please apply directly at Mercury Authorized Internet Reseller Application. When a decision is made, it will be communicated to applicants via email. If the application is approved, then (and only then) will the dealer be authorized to sell online.

Any retailers who sell Quicksilver products without authorization are tortiously interfering with Quicksilver's Authorized Internet Reseller network and potentially violating other laws and rights of Mercury Marine, including intellectual property rights.

In order to avoid further action, please remove the Quicksilver product listings immediately from your website(s) and/or submit an application to become a Quicksilver Authorized Internet Reseller.


Sincerely,

Mercury Marine d/b/a Quicksilver
Brand Compliance



Date: 11/21/2019
Old 11-28-2019, 05:11 AM
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My response on 11/21/19:

To Whom it May Concern,


I am very off-put by this e-mail. I just purchased a triple set of Mercury Verado 350's in cold fusion white with the money I have earned in my business selling obsolete marine parts online, including some of your products - this is the way commerce works in America. There is no law in this county that prevents me from selling products rightfully purchased by my company bearing the Quicksilver and/or Mercury name. I am not a reseller nor a dealer nor do I conduct any wholesale business with distributors that sell your products. The products we obtain and have listed are either from wholesale liquidations or products I am not using for my current engines.

At a time when the Mercury brand is doing so well, the fact that e-mails like this are being sent is ludicrous and un-necessary. In case you didn't look further, I am using my own pictures and my own descriptions unlike a lot of my competitors. Please kindly acknowledge receipt of this e-mail and let's agree that what is going on here is not, in your words "tortiously interfering" with anything going on at Mercury.

Best Regards,
Julian Maxwell Stein, "Max"
Owner, Max Marine Electronics
Old 11-28-2019, 05:12 AM
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And just this morning, I put the turkey on the smoker and go to check e-mails and have my second nasty-gram:Dear maxmarineelectronics.com,



As previously communicated, maxmarineelectronics.com is not authorized to sell Quicksilver products on the Internet, and you have failed to comply with our previous demand that you remove the Quicksilverproduct listings from the Internet.

Please remove the requested listings immediately.

In order to sell Quicksilver products on the internet, you MUST become a Quicksilver Authorized Internet Dealer. If you wish to apply for Internet authorization, please apply directly at Quicksilver Authorized Internet Reseller Application. When a decision is made, it will be communicated to applicants via email. If the application is approved, then (and only then) will the dealer be authorized to sell online.

Your failure to comply is tortious interference with Quicksilver's Authorized Internet Reseller network as well as a violation of other laws and rights of Mercury Marine.

In order to avoid any further action, please remove your product listings immediately.

Sincerely,

Mercury Marine d/b/a Quicksilver
Brand Compliance



Date: 11/28/2019
Old 11-28-2019, 05:17 AM
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To be clear, I liquidate businesses of obsolete and un-needed inventory and resell, I don't sell high dollar parts, and I certainly don't know of any laws in this country governing the sale of old parts. To see such a strongly worded e-mail being sent blindly to a Mercury customer who bought their Mercury products with money partially earned selling Mercury products goes against every principal of capitalism and economics I've known. I'm sure there will be those of you saying "they need to protect their dealers." Yes, they do, but I'm not that guy. Here are the Quicksilver and Mercury products I'm selling that Mercury claims is "tortiously interfering" with their dealers and violating their intellectual property rights, some of which, mind you, were leftover from my own refit:

https://maxmarineelectronics.com/?or...t_type=product

https://maxmarineelectronics.com/?s=...t_type=product

I already know Mercury Marine doesn't have a leg to stand on, but I do think it's very sad that a company that is absolutely dominating the outboard market is pulling this kind of stuff.
Old 11-28-2019, 05:20 AM
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How are you acquiring these parts?

used stuff they can go pound sand.

Other channels for new parts you will likely have to comply, as I am certain their distribution/resale restrictions are pretty tight. For instance if you are buying from a wholesaler you have likely agreed to terms and conditions that has been burried in the fine print or referenced there somewhere.

if you are acquiring through a liquidator or similar you likely fall under the same classification as a used parts seller, as long as you identify yourself accordingly.
Old 11-28-2019, 05:26 AM
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They are doing what any other company trying to protect their dealer network would do and use the same letter for any violations. At best I suspect that they would next seek a restriction from eBay or amazon. Craigslist I suspect you would be fine. In some cases, there are restrictions that can legally carry over to the third party purchaser of goods that prevents resale at the retail level.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:24 AM
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sub'd!

i would not have replied personally but had a lawyer send a reply
Old 11-28-2019, 06:29 AM
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Where do you get the products that you are selling? I doubt Mercury directly because then you'd already be a dealer in some form.
Also, my all encompassing caveat. I am not a lawyer...
Online selling is no longer in its infancy but it is still like a young child. The ability to buy something from across any ocean with reasonable shipping is changing the business model of many companies.
I am an avid cyclist and Shimano has done some things this year to protect their dealer network. i.e. No more cheap components from the E.U. And all parts are sold at MSRP so the playing field is level between small and large online businesses. For myself though, I do not buy current products but get NOS from other sellers in a cut throat marketplace. MSRP does not apply there.
Mercury is likely forcing all dealers to sell at MSRP so that the dealers, online and brick & mortar, are all on a level playing field.

If these are used parts or NOS that you've picked up from shop closings, etc... then IMHO they have no legal standing other than some bluster.

Old 11-28-2019, 06:41 AM
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All manufacturers are policing in similar fashion. They have to deal with a buyer claiming they bought a new part and now want it warrantied if it fails etc etc. plus there is always the possibility of Chinese knock offs with their labeling etc. There is of course no warranty if the item is not purchased from a authorized seller. Manufacturers also deal with authorized dealers dumping products to others to sell at wholesale prices on the internet. This is not Mercury being a a hole for the hell of it. They are trying to protect their brand and they have hired a third party company most likely to do this on their behalf. It is simply the way of the world now. If you ran Merc you would be doing the same thing, so don’t take this personally.
Old 11-28-2019, 06:49 AM
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Mercury is absolutely within its right to prevent you from selling products listed as New, however cannot prevent you from reselling products you obtained. You might want to remind Mercury of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons
Old 11-28-2019, 06:52 AM
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As stated Mercury is attempting to protect it's dealer network and it's customers. The amount of counterfeit parts entering this country is unreal, the only way to be certain you are getting the actual oe part is through a certified dealer and some of them can be sketchy as well.
Old 11-28-2019, 07:13 AM
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Land of the free and home of the lawsuit. You probably need to get your legal advice from a more reliable source than THT. I feel for you. Our world is moving increasingly to megacorps run by lawyers.
Old 11-28-2019, 07:34 AM
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Ok, so your Company is a Reseller. Good! Congrats!

If Mercury Marine, was this concerned about "Their Product" getting into the hands of "Resellers" like yourself. They should have Demanded all remaining Stock from their "Authorized Dealer" be returned @ Face Value, before that "Authorized Dealer" went BK (or what ever).

That being said. I worked through Oldsmobile's BK, GM didn't Buy Back all of the Oldsmobiles we had left in stock. They didn't buy back all of the Hummers, Saturns, Pontiacs, but they did try to control the Sale of them. So the rolls could be reversed in Liquidation, apart of GM's and Ford's Dealer Agreements state Dealers cannot Knowingly Sell to a New Vehicle to a US Buyer. But what would we need a "Dealer Agreement" for in Bankruptcy?

Old 11-28-2019, 07:37 AM
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3 immediate family members are seasoned semi retired attorneys with plenty of time, not worried about anything legal as if they escalate this, they'll be shut down swiftly. What chaps me most about this whole thing is how I've advocated for their products, bought their products, use their products and they use their resources not top improve their products but to bully guys like myself.

For those that asked, the majority of these products came from a distributor that was acquired and all obsolete and blem inventory was sold through an auction house on pallets. I own it free and clear, I'm not peddling stuff on behalf of anyone in their dealer network. All of the parts I am selling carry no warranty from Mercury and they shouldn't.

Some of these companies want to have their cake and eat it to, you don't get to decide what happens to these parts 5,10,20 years after you sold them.

Sidenote- interesting how similar threads were allowed to exist in the boating forum but this got moved here within hours...
Old 11-28-2019, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mstyle8517 View Post
3 immediate family members are seasoned semi retired attorneys with plenty of time, not worried about anything legal as if they escalate this, they'll be shut down swiftly. What chaps me most about this whole thing is how I've advocated for their products, bought their products, use their products and they use their resources not top improve their products but to bully guys like myself.

For those that asked, the majority of these products came from a distributor that was acquired and all obsolete and blem inventory was sold through an auction house on pallets. I own it free and clear, I'm not peddling stuff on behalf of anyone in their dealer network. All of the parts I am selling carry no warranty from Mercury and they shouldn't.

Some of these companies want to have their cake and eat it to, you don't get to decide what happens to these parts 5,10,20 years after you sold them.

Sidenote- interesting how similar threads were allowed to exist in the boating forum but this got moved here within hours...
sidenote: maybe they were not seen. threads such as this do not belong in Boating. contrary to popular belief on this forum, we do not see every post on every thread. in fact, probably not even a small %. We rely on stumbling across them and/or member alerts. BTW, I am not the moderator that moved this one
Old 11-28-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by THT Mod 7 View Post
sidenote: maybe they were not seen. threads such as this do not belong in Boating. contrary to popular belief on this forum, we do not see every post on every thread. in fact, probably not even a small %. We rely on stumbling across them and/or member alerts. BTW, I am not the moderator that moved this one
I stand by what I said, it's interesting. Not blaming the mods, I know how it works here...
Old 11-28-2019, 01:12 PM
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Last edited by Schmaltz~Herring; 11-28-2019 at 04:53 PM.
Old 11-28-2019, 01:42 PM
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In the industry I worked in we ran across the same types of situations.

We have an authorized distributor network that we sold to for the aftermarket segment. On occasion we would hear of, or find someone selling our branded product (advertised as new product on their website) who was not authorized to sell it OR they would advertise they were an authorized distributor of the product. They likely acquired it from another authorized distributor as slow moving inventory.

We would send cease and desist letters and they were adhered to for the most part. What we found in some cases that the product was counterfeit which runs somewhat rampant in our industry.

If an end user of our product had a failure they needed to tell us where they bought the product. If it wasn't from an authorized distributor the warranty was not honored because of the assumption of counterfeit product. This may be one of the reasons Mercury is sending this letter.

Not saying you had done anything wrong but it is totally understanding IMO. Business is business and it must be protected.

Old 11-28-2019, 02:47 PM
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I understand the counterfeit arguement in other industries, even non oem products being sold deceptively as OEM- think Sierra. I don't see Sierra getting shut down and there simply aren't counterfeit mercury parts, not enough market for them, just like there are not counterfeit Garmin, Furuno, etc.

I fully understand why Mercury is sending these, I just think that until they institute parts buy back programs, they're crazy if they think that their dealer network and boat builders that hang mercs are going to just dumpster the parts they are no longer using. Going after me for selling some oil filters and harnesses just seems like a poor use of resources.

More then anything though, I'm disappointed. I am now going to look at my transom when we're riding 150 miles out to the fishing grounds and over the whine of three superchargers, I'll hear that stupid nastygram email playing in my head... oh well, life's too short.
Old 11-28-2019, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mstyle8517 View Post
I understand the counterfeit arguement in other industries, even non oem products being sold deceptively as OEM- think Sierra. I don't see Sierra getting shut down and there simply aren't counterfeit mercury parts, not enough market for them, just like there are not counterfeit Garmin, Furuno, etc.

I fully understand why Mercury is sending these, I just think that until they institute parts buy back programs, they're crazy if they think that their dealer network and boat builders that hang mercs are going to just dumpster the parts they are no longer using. Going after me for selling some oil filters and harnesses just seems like a poor use of resources.

More then anything though, I'm disappointed. I am now going to look at my transom when we're riding 150 miles out to the fishing grounds and over the whine of three superchargers, I'll hear that stupid nastygram email playing in my head... oh well, life's too short.
I should add that I do understand your frustration.

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