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Tesco seriously breached code by delaying payments to suppliers

Staff writer |
Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon has told Tesco to introduce significant changes to practices and systems.

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This comes after finding Britain’s largest supermarket seriously breached a legally-binding Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the Code) to protect groceries suppliers.

During a thorough investigation covering the period from June 25, 2013 to February 5, 2015 she found that the retailer had acted unreasonably when delaying payments to suppliers, often for lengthy periods of time.

The Adjudicator was concerned about three key issues: Tesco making unilateral deductions from suppliers, the length of time taken to pay money due to suppliers and in some cases an intentional delay in paying suppliers.

She considered Tesco’s breach of the Code to be serious due to the varying and widespread nature of the delays in payment. The Adjudicator has used her powers to order the retailer to make significant changes in the way it deals with payments to suppliers.

Her five recommendations include stopping Tesco from making unilateral deductions from money owed for goods supplied. Suppliers will be given 30 days to challenge any proposed deduction and if challenged Tesco will not be entitled to make the deduction.

The Adjudicator also insists that the company corrects pricing errors within seven days of notification by a supplier.

Tesco has also been told to improve its invoices by providing more transparency and clarity for suppliers and to put its finance teams and buyers through training on the findings from the Adjudicator’s investigation.


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