ACCC investigates supermarket duopoly amid bullying claims

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are being investigated by the ACCC amid claims they bully food and grocery suppliers to force their prices down.

According to SMH, news of the ACCC's investigation following Wesfarmers confirmation that is has asked Coles executives to investigate accusations of wrongdoing when dealing with its suppliers.

"We are doing our own investigations and obviously the ACCC is doing its and we will just let it all unfold," Wesfarmers boss, Richard Goyder, said.

The SMH reports that under the promise of identity protection, approximately 50 suppliers have approached the ACCC with evidence of misconduct by the supermarket duopoly.

The ACCC's investigation will consider claims that the supermarkets impose penalties on suppliers that aren't part of the terms of trade, favour homebrand products, threaten to remove products from the shelves if extra payments or penalties aren't paid and fail to pay prices agreed with suppliers.

Claire Kimball, a spokeswoman for Woolworths, said "Woolworths has a very strong focus on ensuring its business dealings are fair and lawful."

If proven to be true, the allegations carry multi-million dollar fines.

KAP (Katter's Australian Party) federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, said the party has been putting pressure on the ACCC and its chairman Rob Sims for some time now, and is grateful for the competition watchdog's response.

“We are terrifically gratified and heartened that at least someone is trying for us. Every farmer in Australia now has a platform to voice their desperate plight," said Katter.

“The farmers of Australia have been beaten, battered and bullied by these supermarkets and now they will finally get the chance to tell their side of the story."

Katter called on every Australian farmer to write an anonymous letter submitting their support for ACCC's investigation.


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