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According to the sales representative, “the less stock we have, the higher the price” “you see it is a question of demand”, “also the Euro went up” …
That's a pretty interesting quote from a sales representative. In IAP's catalog, the caveat reads:

"International Auto Parts Corporation cannot be responsible for typographical errors in specifications or pricing, or for price changes due to currency exchange rate fluctuations."

That's a pretty standard, and reasonable, caveat. But, to my reading, it does not indicate a sliding price scale based upon customer demand. If that were the case, then it should read something like "Pricing based upon demand. Call for current price." Like an auctioning off a lobster at a restaurant, or like airline ticket pricing.

With regards to using the terms "price gouging," that's probably not appropriate. That term is generally considered with regards to essential services and commodities during or after a disaster in which the a high demand is created for a scare resource.

"Many provide scarce guidance for discerning which prices are “unconscionable” (as laws in Florida, Virginia and Massachusetts define gouging) or represent a “gross disparity” from normal prices (as the laws prohibit in Louisiana, South Carolina and Michigan)."

In this instance, I would describe IAP as "highly uncompetitive." In a relatively small community like IAP conducts business in, reputation is everything. I find it hard to believe that the sales guy would say such a thing to a customer. I could understand if he said . . . "Hey, were really sorry, but our supplier's price went up sharply along with the exchange rate, and that's what's driven the price up so steeply."

I think a letter to Mr. Opiela, the owner would be in order for him to confirm or deny the sales clerk's rather broad statement of IAP's pricing policy. Maybe we have some IAP people on the BB here that can also clear this up.
 
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