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Investigations into Coles’ Unconscionable Conduct Continue

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed further legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) against Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards suppliers in mid-October, 2014.

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims said Coles forced suppliers to pay “gaps” in the profit of products it made – including cost of wastage, store markdowns and missing deliveries – even when it had no legitimate basis to do so.

“The ACCC alleges that Coles took advantage of its superior bargaining position by demanding money from suppliers that it was not lawfully entitled to, and was, in all the circumstances, unconscionable,” said Mr Sims.

These proceedings arise out of the same ACCC investigation against Coles on 5 May with regards to Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards 200 of its smaller suppliers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

ADF President, Noel Campbell said he looks forward to the result of the court case given ADF’s strong track record of advocacy to the ACCC since the introduction of the $1 per litre retail milk price.

“This latest action by the ACCC highlights the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct, including the establishment of an independent Supermarket Ombudsman with penalties to balance the excessive market power of the major retailers,” Mr Campbell said.

ADF will continue to lobby Government and engage in dialogue with the major retailers about the code.

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