ACCC won’t appeal Woolworths unconscionable conduct decision

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th December 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it will not appeal the Federal Court decision which dismissed its claim that Woolworths had engaged in unconscionable conduct through its “Mind the Gap” scheme.

“The ACCC has considered this judgment carefully and decided not to appeal,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“In particular, the ACCC has noted the acceptance by the Court of the evidence given by Woolworths executives, and the Court’s comments on the ACCC’s reliance on documents to establish its case. The ACCC will take these comments into account in its consideration of future cases on unconscionable conduct, including in the supermarket sector,” Sims said.

The ACCC said it would continue to monitor industry compliance with the Australian Consumer Law in addition to the new Food and Grocery Code of Conduct that came into effect in July 2016.

The ACCC initiated legal action against Woolworths in December 2015, alleging that the supermarket acted unconscionably in requesting financial contributions from suppliers to help meet budgeted profit figures.

The scheme was implemented in November and December 2014, and suppliers who were deemed to be underperforming were contacted and asked to provide “support”.

On 8 December 2016, Justice David Yates found the scheme was not unconscionable for a number of reasons outlined previously by Australian Food News.

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