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Brumby's dodges fine over carbon tax price rise suggestion

Date

Larissa Ham

BRUMBY'S has escaped a hefty fine over its carbon tax misfire, instead entering into an undertaking with the consumer watchdog.

The bakery chain's parent company, Retail Food Group, was forced to issue a prompt apology after its managing director, Deane Priest - who has since resigned - wrote to franchisees suggesting they lift their prices and ''let the carbon tax take the blame''.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday it had accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Retail Food Group that it would not engage in similar conduct in the future.

''If businesses tell customers that prices have gone up due to the carbon price … their claims must be truthful and have a reasonable basis, or the business will face potential ACCC action,'' said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. He said the Retail Food Group had acted quickly to redress the effect of its earlier statement, which was distributed via an internal newsletter. Its response included writing to franchisees to outline their legal obligations on the carbon tax and providing training.

The ACCC last week reminded all franchisees that they were personally liable for their business decisions, even if the advice came from their franchisor's head office.

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