How to raise a complaint

If you are a supplier doing business directly with AlDI, Coles, Woolworths or Metcash then you can benefit from the protections under the Food and Grocery Code (the Code).

If you feel like you have experienced poor behaviours by the buying team within the major supermarkets or wholesaler you can lodge a complaint using the Code.

Step 1: Lodge your complaint with a Code Arbiter

You can start by lodging your complaint with the new Code Arbiters.

The Code Arbiters are individuals appointed by the supermarkets/wholesaler to investigate and resolve your complaints. They will investigate to your complaint and can offer you a proposed remedy – which can include compensation of up to $5 million if you have suffered loss as a result of the buyers’ actions. Your complaint will be treated confidentially and you can control when you want your identity (or the identity of your organisation) to be disclosed to the supermarket/wholesaler. You can remain anonymous but should be aware that this may limit the ability of the Code Arbiter to fully investigate your complaint and provide you with a proposed remedy. When lodging your complaint, you must include the following details:

  • The supplier’s identification details (including business or trading name).
  • Contact details for the supplier, or the person dealing with the complaint on behalf of the supplier (including name, title and contact number).
  • Details of the conduct giving rise to the complaint (you may include any documents or other information that would assist the investigation of the complaint).
  • The provision of the code you think is relevant to the complaint.

There is no cost to you as the supplier for using this Code Arbiter process.

The contact details for the Code Arbiters are provided below.

Coles 
Hon. Jeff Kennett AC 
Phone: (03) 9421 0977 
Email: jkennett@ausresolve.com

Woolworths
Helen McKenzie 
Phone: 0499 885 090 
Email: codearbiter@wowgrocerycode.com.au

ALDI 
Bronwyn Gallacher 
Phone: 0433 292 777 
Email: bronwyn@cclconsultants.com.au

Metcash
Martin Shakinovsky 
Phone: 0416 235 766 
Email: complaints@metcashcodearbiter.com.au

Step 2: Refer your complaint to the Independent Reviewer if you are unsatisfied with the process

After completing the complaints process with the Code Arbiter, if you are unsatisfied with the steps taken by the Code Arbiter in dealing with your complaint – you can request a review by the Independent Reviewer.

The duty of the Independent Reviewer is to help ensure that the dispute resolution systems are working as intended – including that you received due process and proper procedures were followed.

The Independent Reviewer will not consider the merits of the Code Arbiter’s decision or whether the outcome is considered fair or not. They will not be re-prosecuting the case or substituting a decision.

During the Independent Reviewer’s review of your complaint he will conduct an investigation and may request further information from the parties. Following his consideration, he can make recommendations to the Code Arbiter to reconsider your case if deficient practices or grounds exist.

If the Independent Reviewer becomes aware of possible breaches of the Grocery Code that have not been adequately dealt with by the Code Arbiter or supermarket/wholesaler – then he may refer the matter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for potential enforcement action.

All requests made to the Independent Reviewer will be treated confidentially. Your identity will not be disclosed to the supermarket/wholesaler unless your consent is provided.

In your request you must also include:

  • The supplier’s identification details (including business or trading name).
  • Contact details for the supplier, or the person dealing with the complaint on behalf of the supplier (including name, title and contact number).
  • Details of the process giving rise to the Independent Reviewer request (you may include any documents or other information that would assist the Independent Reviewer to review the Code Arbiter’s process).

If you have not lodged a complaint through the Code Arbiter, you can still report any to the Independent Reviewer any experiences or dealings with the supermarkets/wholesaler that you believe fall short of the standards outlined in the Code.

There is no cost to you as the supplier for this Independent Reviewer process.

Make an enquiry

Step 3: Mediation and arbitration

As a supplier you have the right to choose the alternative dispute resolution process that works best for you. In addition to the Code Arbiter and Independent Reviewer process set out in the Code, you can also invoke third party mediation or arbitration.

Provisions in the Code make it compulsory for the supermarkets/wholesaler to take part in mediation or arbitration in good faith.

It is up to the parties to organise a mediator or arbitrator to hear the dispute and both parties are responsible for paying the associated costs. You should discuss these matters with your chosen mediator or arbitrator.

The purpose of the dispute resolution process under the Code is to help resolve your complaint in a timely and cost effective manner. However, this does not prevent you from taking your own legal action or lodging a complaint directly with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an alleged breach of the Code or other provisions in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Further guidance for suppliers is available on the ACCC website.