28 April 2016
Consumer group CHOICE has welcomed the Federal Court's decision today to hit Colgate-Palmolive with an $18 million fine for cartel conduct to control the supply and pricing of laundry detergents.
The fine follows an investigation by the ACCC in late 2013 alleging major laundry detergent producers Colgate, Cussons and Unilever entered into arrangements to cease suppling standard concentrate laundry detergents and transition to ultra-concentrate detergents without passing on cost savings to consumers.
"This fine should send a very clear message to industry that if you engage in dirty tricks such as price collusion you're going to get cleaned up," says CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
"Laundry detergent is a household staple, and since ultra-concentrate detergents are cheaper to produce, store and transport, consumers should have been banking savings in their weekly shop.
"It's deeply concerning that these household brands seem to have set out to manipulate the laundry detergent market with a view to ripping-off their customers."
The $18 million penalty is the equal third largest penalty that the court has ordered for cartel conduct in Australia.
The ACCC also alleged that supermarket giant, Woolworths, was knowingly involved in the arrangements.
Colgate, Cussons and Unilever produce popular brands of laundry detergent such as Cold Power, Radiant and Omo.