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New Zealand case against Bunnings’ pricing dismissed

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has seen its case against Bunnings Warehouse thrown out, after alleging had misled customers by claiming it could provide the “lowest price, guaranteed” on all of its products.

Auckland Court Judge BA Gibson said, however, that Bunnings’ marketing around it’s pricing was always tied to its price guarantee, where it will beat a competitors price by 15 per cent in New Zealand, and 10 per cent in Australia.

Therefore, it was reasonable to assume that customers could understand that Bunnings’ prices weren’t always the lowest, but that this guarantee meant that customers had a way to pay the lowest price regardless.

Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said the business welcomes the decision, and that providing its New Zealand customers with value is at the heart of what it does.

“This case stemmed from Mitre 10 filing a complaint with the NZCC and relates to advertising in the market in 2014 to 2016. The four-year court process has led to all parties incurring significant legal costs,” Schneider said.

Commission chair Anna Rawlings said that despite the court ruling against it, the judgement was important in clarifying how to interpret claims of ‘lowest prices’ moving forward.

“Many consumers are strongly motivated by price when making purchasing decisions,” Rawlings said.

“In acknowledging the outcome of this case, the Commission would like to remind businesses that they must consider how consumers are likely to interpret what they are told about goods and services, their prices and available savings.

“[This case] reinforces the importance of having good systems in place to support any comparative price representations – systems that enable traders to take account of changes in the information underlying their price comparisons and respond accordingly.”

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