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The ACCC institutes further proceedings against Coles

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By Kaye Griffiths, Senior Associate, MST Lawyers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) has issued proceedings in the Federal Court against Coles alleging that it engaged in unconscionable conduct in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”).

The ACCC alleges that Coles took advantage of its superior bargaining position by unconscionably demanding money from smaller suppliers for “profit gaps” (the difference between the profit Coles wanted to make and actually made).

The ACCC alleges that Coles took advantage of its superior bargaining position to obtain payment of the profit gaps.  This further claim sends a strong signal to large retailers that they must not take advantage of their position to obtain an advantage or payment from smaller suppliers.  The case continues.