Can a supplier refuse to sell industrial machine parts?

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Can a supplier refuse to sell industrial machine parts?

I’ve gone in business to repair industrial machines. The supplier for these parts is the manufacturer of the machines that I service and repair. The manufacturer originally sold these machine that are no longer under warranty. The manufacturer has in the past sold parts to these customers. Now the manufacturer has stated that it will not sell parts to the customer if I am the one repairing these machines. I have several years experience working on them. I am not under a non-compete agreement with anyone. Is it legal for them not to sell replacement parts to the customers they originally sold the machine to?

Asked on July 12, 2019 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action violated a binding legal agreement or constitued some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. was based on your race, religion, nationality, gender, age (over 40), or disability), it was legal. As a general rule, a business can make the determination as to  who it will or will not conduct business with.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal, unless they are violating some agreement or contract with the customers by refusing to sell (if they are, the customers could sue them to enforce the contract's terms). No business is required to sell to all persons so long as they are not discriminating on a prohibited basis, such as against someone's race or religion. If there is no discrimination against a group going on, they are allowed to say they will not sell to specific customers or not sell the parts a specific person will work on them.


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