Regulating unilateral supermarket misconduct as customer/acquirer of goods and services

Corones, Stephen (2015) Regulating unilateral supermarket misconduct as customer/acquirer of goods and services. Australian Business Law Review, 43(5), pp. 400-419.

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Supermarkets in Australia may have substantial market power as buyers in wholesale markets for grocery products. They may also have substantial bargaining power in negotiating contracts with their suppliers of grocery products. The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) regulates misconduct by supermarkets as customer/acquirers in three ways. First, s 46(1) of the CCA prohibits the ‘taking advantage’ of buyer power for the purpose of damaging a competitor, preventing entry or deterring or preventing competitive conduct. Secondly, s 21 of the ACL prohibits unconscionable conduct in business–to–business transactions. Thirdly, Pt IVB of the CCA provides for the promulgation of mandatory and voluntary industry codes of conduct. Since 1 July 2015 the conduct of supermarkets as customer/acquirers has been regulated by the Food and Grocery Industry Code of Conduct. This article examines these three different approaches. It considers them against the background of the misconduct at issue in ACCC v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd which the ACCC chose to litigate as an unconscionable conduct case, rather than a misuse of market power case. The article also considers the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three approaches and concludes that while the three approaches address different problems there is scope for overlap and all three should be retained for compete coverage.

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ID Code: 87597
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: competition law, consumer law, contract law, supermarkets and retail law, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ISSN: 0310-1053
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Commercial and Contract Law (180105)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Commercial & Property Law Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters (Australia)
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2015 01:40
Last Modified: 30 May 2016 04:05

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