Refusal to supply products or services

In most cases, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with.

When refusing to supply is allowed

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.

When refusing to supply is breaking the law

There are a few circumstances, where a suppliers' refusal to supply is breaking the law.

This may occur when a supplier is:

If you believe your supplier is withholding supply illegally

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

More information

Anti-competitive behaviour

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Exclusive dealing

Misuse of market power