In most cases, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with.
As a general rule, suppliers have the right to choose who they wish to deal with and there are many reasons why a supplier may refuse to supply goods or services.
For example, a supplier may choose not to supply a business on the basis of the reliability of that business, the cost of delivery, or the presentation of goods and services. Similarly, a wholesaler or manufacturer may find it too costly or inconvenient to sell to everyone who asks.
If a supplier decides not to supply a business and their reason is not an improper one, the client business will have to renegotiate terms with that supplier or seek alternative suppliers.
There are a few circumstances, where a suppliers' refusal to supply is breaking the law.
This may occur when a supplier is:
- misusing their market power
- involved in a boycott
- imposing minimum resale prices on retailers
- engaging in exclusive dealing
- acting unconscionably.
If you think that your supplier is illegally withholding supply:
- in the first instance approach the supplier to discuss the reason for refusal. Perhaps changes can be made to resolve the issue
- trade associations or industry bodies may be able to help by suggesting improvements to marketing strategies or acting as an arbitrator to settle disputes
- shop around for another source of supply - an alternative supplier may even offer a better deal
- consider contacting your local Small Business Commissioner
- consider mediation or taking private legal action
- notify the ACCC with as much documentary evidence as possible to support your concerns