Coles said that about 168 smaller suppliers agreed to participate in the ARC program and about 32 refused to take part. “Tier 3 suppliers who elected not to participate in the ARC program were not entitled to receive the ARC program benefits including the collaboration and supplier portal benefits,” the defence document said. “Coles continued to trade with all of the tier 3 suppliers who elected not to participate in the ARC program throughout the finacial years ending June 30 2012 and June 30 2013,” it said.
Supermarket chain Coles had admitted threatening suppliers with sanctions such as refusing to stock new products and blocking access to sales forecasts when they declined to pay extra rebates to participate in a new supply chain program.
For example, on October 19, 2011 Coles told supplier Austech Products Pty Ltd that if it did not participate in the program it would withhold replenishment information available to other suppliers and it would order products “as and when required” rather than through a system known as economically efficient ordering.
But Coles has rejected allegations by the ACCC that it contravened Australian Consumer Law by acting unconscionably, using misleading information and applying undue influence to force suppliers to participate in the program.
Read more here: SMH