Contrite Coles will pay $10m in penalties after mistreating suppliers

 In Australia, Coles, NewZealand
Coles has agreed to pay $10 million in penalties and review contracts with hundreds of suppliers after admitting to 15 instances of unconscionable conduct against eight suppliers.
Coles will extend former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett’s role in the business to include a review of the supermarket chain’s treatment of suppliers and assess claims for compensation.
Under the proposed agreement between Coles and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, revealed on Monday, Coles will pay the competition watchdog $10 million for the way it sought rebates from suppliers to fund a supply chain program and for forcing suppliers to plug gaps in profits, even when it had no basis to do so.
The behaviour included telling suppliers if they didn’t agree to the new payments, Coles wouldn’t buy their new products or promote existing ones or would demote them to a so-called "transactional supplier". It also did not pass on certain information and "escalated" suppliers who did not agree within a tight timeframe.
After initially denying the allegations and vowing to "vigorously fight" the ACCC’s unconscionable conduct cases, Coles looks likely to avoid a lengthy legal battle through a joint submission with the ACCC to the Federal Court of Australia.  Sydney Morning Herald – Read more…

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