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BREAKING NEWS: ACCC Nobble Appliance Distributor For Price Fixing

Sydney based appliance distributor Bromic has been hit by the Australian Competition Commissioner for price fixing.

An ACCC investigation revealed evidence that the Company had engaged in resale price maintenance after the consumer watchdog discovered the company had set a ‘minimum advertised price’ for resellers.

Introduced in late January 2018, the scheme set by outdoor heating company forced retailers not to advertise Bromic branded heating products for cheaper than a price they determined.

The scheme also contained potential sanctions against retailers who did not comply, outlined in a ‘three strikes’ policy.

While the policy was unenforced after April 2018, Bromic did nothing to communicate to retail distributors that it was no longer in effect.

Bromic operates nationwide through a network of 29 authorised retailers, through which it distributes its outdoor gas heating products.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said retailers may have continued to advertise products at the enforced ‘minimum advertised pricing’ with the belief that the policy was still in effect.

Under Competition law, manufacturers and suppliers are ‘not allowed to dictate minimum prices to retailers, who are entitled to advertise and sell products at discounted prices if they choose to do so,’ said Ms Court.

Bromic has since advised retailers that its minimum advertised pricing policy is no longer applicable, and legal training will now be provided to company executives on Consumer law requirements, namely price maintenance.

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