ACCC Grants Telstra Shops Collective Supplier Bargaining Powers

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In a move that could have an impact on the cost of IT and consumer electronic goods sold to Telstra shops, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted TLS Association Pty Ltd (TLSA) who represent 90% of the Telstra shops permission collectively bargain with a range of suppliers.

In a move that could have an impact on the cost of IT and consumer electronic goods sold to Telstra shops, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted TLS Association Pty Ltd (TLSA) who represent 90% of the Telstra shops permission collectively bargain with a range of suppliers.

TLSA represents approximately 90 per cent of Telstra licensed shops around Australia.  It sought authorisation to collectively bargain with suppliers of telecommunications products and providers of general small business services in an effort to try and reduce the purchase price of goods.

The ACCC said that the collective bargaining arrangements should bring cost savings for TLSA members. It believes that as the proposed arrangements involve only a small proportion of participants in the relevant markets, there is little or no risk of anti competitive detriment.

The ACCC notes that participation in the collective negotiations is voluntary for all parties and does not impose any restrictions on the ability of TLSA members to deal directly with any supplier.

The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for five years.

The ACCC may authorise this type of arrangement when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The ACCC invites comments on the draft determination. The ACCC’s draft determination and information about making a submission will be available from the ACCC website, www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister and by following the links to this matter.  Parties wishing to make submissions should do so by 4 February 2011.

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