Up Is Up


-Hannah Mead, MCPP intern, 2008

(Or, in Michigan’s case, down is down.)

As I crawled through legislative records, I found this charming provision in the Michigan Consumer Protection Act of 1976:

(1) Unfair, unconscionable, or deceptive methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce are unlawful and are defined as follows:

(z) Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold.

I, for one, am certainly glad to know that it’s not only economically impossible for me to sell a pencil for $1000 but illegal as well. While we’ve got the laws of supply and demand mandated in legislation, we may as well codify scientific laws. Why don’t they legislate that all goods displayed in stores are to rest on the top of the shelves instead of magically floating above them?

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2 thoughts on “Up Is Up

  1. For some reason, I thought there’s a MI statute that puts it the other way, too– if your competitors are selling $1000 pencils, you can’t undercut them by offering identical 50-cent pencils. In particular I thought there was one with gas prices, but the only evidence I found yesterday was a passing reference in this Walter Williams column. If I had found more, I would have commented with it on your last post, but it’s got relevance here, too. You haven’t by any chance come across any such statute in your law-mining?

  2. Yeah, I definitely looked, but I couldn’t find anti-encroachment laws in Michigan. It’s quite plausible that I just don’t know enough legalese to hit the right word or phrase for Michigan. There was a bill proposed in 2004 to ban below-cost pricing, but it didn’t come to a vote.

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