Survey reveals fear of retailers' retribution

Supermarket suppliers would like to see the groceries code adjudicator (GCA) make "big wins" against retailers without the suppliers concerned later facing retribution in order for them to feel confident enough to make complaints themselves, a YouGov survey has found.

A number said they would be happier to raise issues with GCA Christine Tacon if they could do so as a group "as they felt it would offer protection from retribution", the survey summary said.

Issues that affected the largest number of suppliers in the past year were incorrect deductions from invoices with or without notice, incorrectly seeking payments and charges going back several years and requirements for payments beyond those agreed at the start of the contract period.

A recurring theme in responses was a wish for a more collaborative and mutually beneficial approach with supermarkets. "Several mentioned that the balance of power was not in their favour with retailer interest in supplier issues limited and their communication often poor," the summary said.

Tacon said earlier that she would consider forcing suppliers to give evidence as part of her current investigation into Tesco but admitted that fear of retaliation has been "the main reason" why she has been unable to investigate practices until now.

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