June 28, 2012 Articles

LePage's, Cascade Health Solutions, and a Bundle of Confusion

The law for bundled discounts is more than just unsettled; it is a mess.

By Jeff Jaeckel

Discounts on bundled products are commonplace. Consumers value and often expect discounts when purchasing a bundle of products. Sellers use bundled product discounts to compete effectively and maximize sales. As one court has observed, “the world’s largest corporations offer bundled discounts as their product lines expand with the convergence of industries . . . [and] a street corner vendor with a food cart—a merchant with limited capital—might offer a discount to a customer who buys a drink and potato chips to complement a hot dog.” Cascade Health Solutions v. PeaceHealth, 515 F.3d 883, 895 (9th Cir. 2008). Despite the ubiquity of the practice, however, the law in this area is more than just unsettled—it is a mess. Sellers, customers, and antitrust counselors all hope for improvement, and it will surely come, but it is unclear how long we will have to wait.

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