Price on application (sometimes price on asking), more commonly abbreviated as POA, is a term often seen on price lists, classified advertisements and is commonly used with regard to real estate prices. It means the seller or selling agent must be contacted in order to obtain the price.
A numeric price for an item may be withheld or simply unavailable for a number of reasons.
Prices can be deliberately concealed in an attempt to prevent potential buyers from spotting (usually downward) trends in price that could tempt them into waiting for further price decreases before submitting an offer.
In the case of real estate an owner may, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable with revealing a given price to the public or an estate agent may want to prevent trends in property prices over a given area from becoming public information.
Perhaps the most nefarious use of the "price on application" term is as a mild low-ball technique even though no initial low price is given the potential buyer might expect a reasonable price and proceed to inquire. The seller assumes a potential buyer is less likely to go elsewhere once the initial enquiry has been made. The seller will also be given more of a chance to pitch their product to a potential buyer when they enquire about the price.
A property marked as "price on application" may come across as being overpriced and will put off most genuine buyers.
Some sellers wish to have the opportunity to size up potential buyers and find out how keen they are and how much they are able to afford. POA gives these sellers the freedom to come up with a customised price for each potential buyer. For example a well-dressed businessman who comes from abroad to view the property will be told a higher price than a known local farmer.
Often, high-end jewelers do not have price tags so that sales representatives can pitch items before the customer finds out the price.
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