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Trouble's brewing back home for Bunnings

Commerce Commission NZ

New Zealand's competition enforcement and regulatory agency, the Commerce Commission, has filed charges against Bunnings (NZ) Limited at Auckland District Court.

The New Zealand arm of the Australian retailer is facing 45 charges of having misled customers by advertising the prices of its goods as being the lowest in the market.

Excerpts from the Commerce Commission's statement follow:

"The Commission alleges that Bunnings’ advertising at its stores nationwide along with advertising campaigns on television, radio, online, and in newspapers and catalogues gave an overall impression that it offered the lowest prices for its products, when this was not true.

"The Commission’s investigation focused on the period 1 July 2014 to 28 February 2016.

"As this is case is before the Court, the Commission cannot comment any further at this time. The matter will be called in the District Court for the first time on 7 March 2017."

There is a maximum fine of $600,000 for each offence, so if all allegations are upheld, Bunnings (NZ) Limited could face a fine of up to $27 million.

Examples of the phrases used by Bunnings in its advertisements and catalogues include:

  • “Bunnings has the lowest price on everything you need.”
  • “Everything is at the lowest price guaranteed.”
  • “Lowest prices are just the beginning…”
  • “We’ve got the widest range and the lowest prices”.

Bunnings' General Manager, Jacqui Coombes, said: 

"We would like to reassure customers that we will continue our lowest prices policy along with our comprehensive business processes and procedures operating behind the scenes to back this up,"

Source : Insight DIY and the New Zealand Commerce Commission

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08 February 2017

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