Commerce Commission files charges against Bunnings
UPDATED: The Commerce Commission has filed 45 charges in the Auckland District Court against Bunnings New Zealand, alleging the building supplies retailer misled consumers by advertising the prices of its goods as being the lowest in the market.
Bunnings' advertising at its stores nationwide, campaigns on television, radio, online, and in newspapers and catalogues gave an overall impression it offered the lowest prices for its products when this was not true, the regulator says. The investigation focused on the period from July 1, 2014, to February 28, 2016.
As the case is before the court, the commission says it is unable to comment any further. The matter will be called in the district court for the first time on March 7.
Bunnings said it is "disappointed" with the Commerce Commission's decision to file charges. "We disagree with the Commerce Commission's view of our lowest prices policy and will defend our highly competitive price guarantee," said Jacqui Coombes, NZ general manager in an emailed statement.
Coombes said the company would continue the policy, backed up by "behind the scenes" processes and procedures. "We remain absolutely committed to creating more value for New Zealand consumers and believe in the right of all businesses to compete on price," said Coombes.
Bunnings New Zealand is headquartered in Auckland and its parent company is Australia's Wesfarmers, which also owns Coles, Target, K-Mart and Officeworks. It has 46 retail stores nationwide, all of which it owns and operates. It employs 3700 staff and stores stock on average 46,000 product lines, according to the commission.