Is it even possible to get a factory authorized dealer to give a discount?

Over the years I run into the same thing over and over. I go to a dealer of my favorite gear and he has a piece that's been on his floor for months. I ask of it can be sold at a discount and he states "My contract with the manufacturer prohibits me from discounting or else I loose my distributorship" . OK, fair enough but the the same gear with about the same hours on it appears on US Audiomart from a private seller and it's 40% off retail. What gives?  I know a dealer has to make an honest markup for the cash he invested in inventory, overhead  and his expertise but why can't the dealer "make a deal" and give a nice little discount to the loyal customer?  

I asked my local dealer and he basically said this: "If there were free and fair discounting between dealers there would soon be no dealers as dealers with excess inventory would discount until almost all dealers were gone then the remaining dealers would 200%+ mark up new gear and the entire ecosystem would be wrecked. Consumers would enjoy a windfall discounts for a short time and soon thereafter there would be lost dealers, lost manufacturers and then price inflation like crazy plus crap innovation.  

That made sense to me but can't a guy get a deal?   What are your thoughts?  Is your dealer worth his markup? 

My conclusion was to support the guy who brings gear to my house and sets it up. I like him, he's not getting rich (or else he wouldn't be there sweating the install) and I'm better off having music (a system) that makes my spirits soar. Yes it's really expensive but I think I'm getting a non-diminishing return in joy and happiness. 

What do you think? 

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The margin for dealers is quite generous and there is always room to negotiate a reasonable discount.   I for one would never buy anything without a minimum 20% off MSRP.  Greater if the box has been opened or the item has been used for any demo in the dealership.  The "S" in MSRP stands for "suggested". There are no fixed rules in sales.  A transaction is made when two parties agree.  If a dealer is not willing to discuss price, you are free to look elsewhere.  Lots of dealers out there who will deal on price and include shipping.  Cheers.

I recently asked the salesman at a motor car dealership for a discount and he laughed. 

The deep relationship is about more than a simple $ exchange for widget. IF it is that transactional…you don’t need input on synergy, a demo, setup, etc…. definitely search out a discount. I’ve done both…many times….  I like where i’m at now with about 4 dealers who know me well…. but sometimes a wider universe helps…. 

The "S" in MSRP stands for "suggested". There are no fixed rules in sales ...

That is completely mistaken. In the US, it is common practice for a manufacturer to establish fixed pricing that dealers are obligated to respect. This is from the FTC:

... in 2007, the Supreme Court determined that all manufacturer-imposed vertical price programs should be evaluated using a rule of reason approach ... If a manufacturer, on its own, adopts a policy regarding a desired level of prices, the law allows the manufacturer to deal only with retailers who agree to that policy. A manufacturer also may stop dealing with a retailer that does not follow its resale price policy.

Pro Tip:  Many dealers may not wish to publicly give you a discount but will throw in heavily discounted accessories or other products to sweeten the deal.  Worth asking.

I think dealers often can and do find a way to offer discounts to their truly "loyal" customers...I find myself, if buying new, to often prefer manufacturer direct sales...

@tomic601 2012 banger here. (Herself has a new SUV) I keep looking at wonderful car options, persuaded by rational argument, and retreating when I fully understand the increased costs a new vehicle brings. It’s not that I can’t afford it; it’s more an unwillingness to step up from negligible billing to substantive billing.
Apologies for off topic.
On the discounts, I feel that’s the price set, and that’s what the seller wants. Other than saying, "is that the best you can do?", I wouldn’t push it. I was recently at my LRS, and their price for a re-released album was $6 over the Amazon price. I asked if they could price match, and they flatly refused.

@secretguy- yep I did. Reason being that posing my need for good data required my post to be phrased as a question and not a statement. Otherwise nobody would weigh in. 

I really appreciate the replies as they have educated me on how to get better pricing on the Audio Research Reference 320ms that are coming out this May without causing my dealer to get in trouble with ARC. Neither of us want that :)

I gave him a 10% deposit on them and I'm in the cue. I'm loosing sleep over this purchase due to excitement and the fact I've never paid so much money for anything except a car and a house. 

@eric_squires  that's a GREAT idea!  I feel the need to buy a full set of Audioquest silver cables for 1 penny! 


I've never got less then 15% discount at my local Hi-end store, on anything I've ever bought there. I get more on select items, usually the hi dollar items.

One other Hi end shop here I asked for a discount (15%) and they gave some silly reply about cost to run the business etc., I left and they lost a $15000 sale to the other shop, who I only shop at now.

I'm not paying full retail on a multi thousand dollar purchase sorry. I don't need anything in audio that bad. 

@cleeds  Well, that's a fu#ked-up policy.  Move north where we are free 😆

To @erik_squires point, I owned a retail business for many years and offered in-store credit in lieu of cash discount.  On a $40,000 item I would offer a $4000 in-store credit.  The customer would see a $4000 value but in reality, the credit would be used to buy items where I had a 50% margin, thereby only costing me $2000.

The in-store credit is a win/win situation.  Big value to the customer, lower cost to the retailer.  A solid approach when looking for discounts.   

And you guys thought I was all talk with no useful experience to share.... 🤣

If you establish a relationship with a good dealer and give them repeat business you will get some discounts. You will also likely get better sound overall.

OP congratulations on the ARC gear, my REF 5se with about 6k hours on it was unpacked at the selling dealer, a slight defect noticed, new part ordered for drop ship to me , dealer ( Robert Taylor of Taylor House in NC ) ran it in for two weeks, delivered it and picked up my trade in at 2X bluebook…….




Dealer margins run from 20%-50%. Any dealer telling you this is false is full of Sh##. I have received 15-30% discounts on products that manufacturers do not allow to discount. Go into a store, write a check for 20% off retail, and give it to the dealer. If they refuse, go elsewhere, they won't be in business for too long. Money in hand is worth far more than money promised!

I also have Many fantastic hours on my REF Phono 2 se…..Dude, you are in for a treat

It’s easy ,you just have to shop around ,or know someone who wants to make $$ 

I have Never bought anything without at least 15-35% off depending on the product 

and or cables.