Woolworths Australia under investigation for same Bully Boy tactics as Countdown

Countdown claimed to be exonerated despite 91 complaints against them, after a report and investigation from the Commerce Commission.

Woolworths in Australia has the same owners as Progressive/Countdown in NZ  and our Commerce Commission let them off the hook after Shane Jones claims.

Woolworths is now being accused of the same bully boy Maia style standover tactics as has recently occurred in New Zealand and the Australian regulators are investigating.

WOOLWORTHS buyers have told suppliers their products could be pulled from shelves just days before Christmas if they refuse to fund the supermarket giant’s new Cheap Cheap advertising campaign.

“I was asked for a contribution of almost $1 million, and when I refused to pay I was told a ‘range review’ was underway and I would be informed of the outcome early next week,” said the sales manager of one of Australia’s leading health product companies.

“The implied threat is that some of my products will no longer be stocked if I don’t pay up.”

Woolworths staff have also been accused of telling suppliers the payment requests had the “endorsement” of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) – a claim that the consumer watchdog rejects.  

“We don’t intend to provide further comments on this specific matter. Generally speaking though, we can confirm that the ACCC does not have a practice (outside formal processes such as authorisation) of endorsing or approving conduct,” said an ACCC spokesperson.

Fairfax Media can reveal the ACCC has now assigned one of Australia’s most experienced investigators to probe claims that Woolworths is engaging in unconscionable conduct by demanding suppliers pay tens of millions of dollars by the end of December.

The team, which is being led by veteran ACCC enforcement manager Alan Ducret, has promised to provide whistleblower protection in return for information from suppliers.

Mr Ducret led the ACCC’s successful investigation into Coles for unconscionable conduct in its dealings with suppliers. This week Coles requested to settle that similar case and paid a $10 million fine.

No suppliers who assisted with that ACCC investigation have been identified.

I wonder if the Commerce Commission in New Zelaand is watching this case closely with a view to re-opening their one into Countdown should the Australian investigation makes more progress than their own investigations.

It seems incongrous thought that the same organisation on both sides of the Tasman have had the same sorts of accusations levelled against them.

Where there is smoke there is fire.


– The Land


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.