View Full Version : Hasbro fined for price fixing
11-29-2002, 02:22 PM
Don't know if this was already posted and deleted or moved but here it is again anyway. BBC news story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2527267.stm)
Maybe Hasbro will rethink their pricing structures for the UK or maybe they'll do a backpeddle and pull out of supplying and leave us high and dry like the drought of 2001 once more. Considering that the story isn't finished yet with more evidence to come which will undoubtedly lead to Hasbro taking their own legal proceedings. The outcome of this will most likely not be for some time to come. What it does show though is that someone is actually out there looking out for us consumers. If this eventually leads to fairer pricing on hasbro toys then I'm all for that. Somehow I think that Hasbro is one of those companies that finds it hard to change its spots. Same old same old so to speak. I don't hold out much hope for change in all honesty and the UK will no doubt continue to get shafted in the toy aisles. :D
I don't know whether Hasbro will pull out or not but the UK toy market is fairly big. I'm no expert but Hasbro concluded with the regulatory body (I can't remember its name) on the matter and got its fine reduced somewhat.
If you add in the fact Hasbro was going to pull the plug on Subboteo (I think thats how you spell it) until it received enough complaints and decided against it. Tere may still be hope of avoiding another drought.
No way will they pull out compleatly, the market is to large, and it's growing, the UK is deffinetly a groth area for Hasbo, hence all the effort they are putting into including us in the promotions and setting up the dedicated web site. They are not doing it becuse they love us, they simply want our money ;) As a company they simply have to much invested in the UK to up sticks and move on.
11-29-2002, 11:51 PM
Ha! Hasbro got hit with the same complaint a few years back here in Cali, them and TRU were the principle defendants fined a few mil each and they paid in part, I believe, with unsold toys (not kidding). Maybe if they didn't break antitrust laws, they wouldn't have to worry about paying fines when they get caught.
11-30-2002, 01:06 AM
As a consumer, I don't in any way feel gouged or harmed by Hasbro. I see these toys nearly the price of their 20 year-old ancesters when they were new. (TRU's $2.99 setup and what I would average at $5 per figure at retail.)
They do, afterall, own the rights to tons of licenses. Think Barbie doesn't put up a well-deserved fight for aisle space? You bet she does. If putting up that fight gets me $4 or $5 Star Wars figures, I'm all for it.
The BBC report was lacking in any real details on what was alleged to have happened in the UK in terms of whatever harm was done to whomever through Hasbro's engaging in what act.
And, I haven't been shafted for a Star Wars figure by anyone not on-line or not in a specialty shop. (And, like most of you, have at one point or another taking a shining on-line by SOMEONE.) But, not at any retailer.
Maybe if it's corporate-wide, as been alluded, the mid-south retailers I shop at have some sort of immunity from it, because they are all fairly uniform in price.
But, SOMETHING was done, apparently. Again, the report didn't give too many details. I'd like to know who was harmed and by what act. Whatever was done, Hasbro has a ton more at stake in the UK than a couple of million dollars. So, they'll appeal, cut a deal, and continue on with business as usual in the UK.
11-30-2002, 05:44 AM
I think we have been shafted by Hasbro over here. With the amount of toys they ship into the Uk are you telling me that a 50% price differential on basic figures between the US and here is to cover shipping!
£2 a figure? They should use parcelforce - it'd be cheaper!
11-30-2002, 10:06 AM
The Times online (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-497148,00.html)
The Guardian (http://money.guardian.co.uk/businessnews/article/0,11507,850837,00.html)
Doesn't really offer anything different but rather than just rely on the BBC I thought I'd at least try to find alternate stories. In the interests of impartiality that is.
11-30-2002, 11:12 AM
Oh, what a surprise! :rolleyes:
I really feel for all of you in the UK. We keep getting scaled back pricing and your prices seem to stay at the original price level or keep going up. That is completely unfair. It's the same product and I don't buy that whole "shipping price" issue. They are moving tonnes of stuff to the UK and that kind of mark up is usually in place for single piece shipping.
11-30-2002, 12:31 PM
Okay, in all fairness hasbro has realy come through wioth all the product this year, they set up a website for us collectors which although not the best in the world is stil there. The management has changed and they have been attempting to make positive connections with collectors and internet meeting places of fans and collectors. Take the webchats with Nick Rabin for example, unheard off with the old hierarchy. I can see positive steps forward in all of this but at the same time as Jedipartnr said the argument that it costs too much to ship is just ludicrous for a company who ships so much into the country. That really has to be the big push for next year, to bring the prices in line with the states or at least a little closer. More bang for our 'buck' so to speak. As far as meeting demand, this year I have no argument with Hasbro. I won't pick fault for no reason so thanks to hasbro UK for getting us the product but no thanks for the higher prices.
12-01-2002, 05:06 PM
IIRC, when Hasbro and TRU got in trouble here in CA, it was because Hasbro and TRU were supposed to have conspired to keep stores like Costco from getting and selling figures at lower prices. Thus, a price-fixing monopoly was the accusation that was found accurate by the state -- again, IIRC (If I Remember Correctly).
12-03-2002, 02:45 AM
Could the extra UK costs be related to taxes and duties? It's not as if toys are the only thing that suffers. A lot of products, CDs, DVDs, Comics etc, see a direct dollar to pound price conversion (e.g. $9 = £9 pound rather than $9 = £6).
Just an idea, don't know if that's the case. Either way Hasbro certainly aren't the only culprits.
12-03-2002, 07:19 AM
Tax and import duties don't push the cost up that high. Proportionately it's a tiny additional cost when you consider that hasbro is importing by bulk. The smaller the amount imported the higher the cost of tax and duties. Tonnes of stuff comes through for hasbro monthly so it can't really be an argument for them to say it's cost prohibitive and that's why the retail cost is high. If it was cost prohibitive then hasbro wouldn't bother to import at all.
Yes the tax and import duties in the UK are very high but not so high that it makes it uncomfortable for a multinational company like Hasbro.
In the UK we aren't exactly reknowned for complaining about being ripped off and therefore we usually leave ourselves open to being taken advantage of. Hasbro has exploited the fact that TRU are basically the largest and primary source of toy retail in the UK, or were at the time this study took place. Therefore it can be said that it was akin to some kind of blackmail that took place, "buy at this price, or no toys for you." Bullying in other words.
But like the guy from Hasbro said, the old management has been ousted and in place now is a team that at least are trying to reach the consumers and put forward a positive image to help repair the damage. Hasbro as a company is a slippery snake, give them an inch and they'll take a mile, but that is just business after all. I highly doubt that we'll actually see a price drop like the states, just a price freeze possibly. That in itself doesn't solve the problem but it'll help in a small way. Especially if the price freeze lasts for more than one fiscal year. I believe hasbro owes us that at the least.
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