Coles refunds suppliers $12m

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 30 June 2015

Coles has been forced to refund more than $12 million to suppliers after it admitted to contravening Australian consumer law.

The matter, referred to the High Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), stated that a supply chain program complaint was lodged by several suppliers who said they were being overcharged by Coles for access to the Coles supplier portal.

Coles admitted to unconscionable conduct against suppliers in late 2010 and 2011.

Further to the refund, suppliers have also been granted permission to exit the supplier portal without penalty.

This will also result in further substantial ongoing savings for Coles’ suppliers.

The portal allows access to collaborative planning and greater data sharing capability and while Coles said it was right to charge for access, it admitted to not being transparent in its dealings and used its scale power unfairly.

Coles previously issued a mea cupla over the incidents.

“I believe that in these dealings with suppliers, Coles crossed the line and regrettably treated these suppliers in a manner inconsistent with acceptable business practice,” Coles managing director, John Durkan, said.

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