KitchenAid importer and wholesaler Peter McInnes Pty Ltd has agreed not to induce retailers on setting minimum prices on its Stand Mixers after the ACCC raised allegations of resale price maintenance.
Prohibited under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, resale price maintenance occurs when the supplier attempts to control retail prices, influencing them to not sell the product below a certain price.
The ACCC alleges Peter McInnes engaged in resale price maintenance on four occasions between November 2011 and June 2013 by inducing or attempting to induce retailers who carried KitchenAid stand mixers to sell the mixers at the recommended retail price through:
- following a reduction in the mixers’ RRP, providing a rebate to only those retailers who had priced the mixers at the previous RRP in order to compensate them for their loss in margin;
- expressing criticism of two retailers’ promotions where those promotions advertised only the discounted price of the mixers;
- advising a retailer that the value of Peter McInnes’ contribution to retailers’ ‘gift with purchase’ promotions would be lowered due to retailers not pricing at the RRP when conducting such promotions.
“The competitive process relies upon retailers being free to discount their goods and compete with each other on price,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
“If a supplier tries to force or induce a retailer to stick to a particular price, it concerns the ACCC as consumers benefit from being able to shop around for the best deal.”
In response, Peter McInnes provided the ACCC with a court enforceable undertaking that it will:
- refrain from engaging in resale price maintenance for a period of two years;
- write to all of its KitchenAid stand mixer customers informing them that they are free to set their own minimum prices for products supplied to them by Peter McInnes;
- issue directions to its employees that they should refrain from expressing to those customers any hostility or criticism about the customers discounting below the recommended retail price; and
- implement and maintain a compliance program.
Peter McInnes is the exclusive distributor of KitchenAid stand mixers in Australia and supplies the mixers to a number of retailers throughout Australia, including specialty stores and major department stores.