Supermarket suppliers underpaid 'millions of pounds' every year by UK's biggest retailers, says watchdog
Supermarket suppliers are being underpaid “millions of pounds” every year by the UK’s biggest retailers, a government watchdog has claimed.
Speaking to BBC’s Wake Up To Money programme, Christine Tacon, the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator, who has the power to issue a fine up to 1pc of retailer’s UK turnover, said many retailers claim they only receive part of an order which allows them to reduce payment due to their suppliers.
“Suppliers make a delivery and invoice it. Then the retailer, when it comes to paying for that, says ‘I am just deducting some money off this because I didn’t get all the order through that you delivered, I’ve got issues with customers complaints’,” Ms Tacon said.
In particular, the issue affects fresh chilled products such as yoghurts and juices.
“We get issues when suppliers say they’ve delivered a thousand cases […] the retailers break them down and at the end of the day claim they are 20 cases short.”
A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) denied the claim.
“The UK has one of the most regulated supply chains in the world and all supermarkets need a positive working relationship with suppliers to deliver good quality consistent food to discerning customers,” the BRC said in a statement emailed to The Independent.
“It would be counter-productive for retailers to damage their relationship with suppliers in the ways that have been outlined. The longstanding commitments to suppliers show the strength of the supermarket and supplier relationships. The Adjudicator presumably will take action if she thinks the code was breached,” the organisation added.