Wesfarmers owners Officeworks has an amazing deal right now on Reflex paper. In fact, the deal is so good that it is well below what newsagents can buy this paper for at wholesale. I’ve checked around and I doubt even hundreds of newsagents buying in bulk together could buy better than the Officeworks retail price.
This price of $3.20 a ream looks to me like it is below cost. It looks to me like predatory pricing.
Here is what the ACCC says about predatory pricing:
Predatory pricing occurs when a company with substantial market power or share of a market sets is prices at a sufficiently low level with the purpose of damaging or forcing a competitor to withdraw from the market.
This Reflex pricing is another attack on small business by a giant company that is half of the supermarket duopoly in Australia. We’d be letting ourselves down if we do nothing about this.
What should we do about this?
We should complain to the ACCC. Use the small business complaint form and tick the anti competitive behaviour box as this covers predatory pricing. Completing the complain form will take a couple of minutes. Making the complaint puts pressure on Wesfarmers and it puts pressure on their Reflex supplier Australian Office.
We should also complain to our local member of parliament and use this reflex pricing to pressure them to support reining in the power of Coles and Woolworths.
I plan to stop selling and using Reflex. I don’t want to carry a product that can be subject to price comparison in such an unfair way. Newsagents owned GNS has paper I can stock that is not treated this way and that’s what I’ll carry.