The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has denied allegations made by the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, that suppliers are being underpaid millions of pounds every year.
Ms Tacon told a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum event ‘drop and drive’, where lorry drivers drop their delivery and drive away, leaving retailers to count up the products, is her ‘number 1 problem’.
She claims 20 suppliers have already lost £15 million a year due to the practice.
“We get issues where a supplier will say ‘I have delivered a thousand cases’, then the retailers break them down at breakneck speed and send them out to the depots and at the end of the day say ‘oh there were twenty cases short’, and just deduct it from payment”, Ms Tacon told the BBC Wake Up To Money programme.
“Suppliers are saying ‘I know I put a thousand cases on’, and in some cases there is third party verification of it”, she added.
The watchdog also accused retailers of charging farmers for customer complaints – sometimes up to £55 each – and underpaying suppliers when they run promotions.
The BRC responded to Ms Tacon’s claims by releasing a statement which said the UK has one of the most regulated supply chains in the world and all supermarkets needed a ‘positive working relationship’ with suppliers.
“It would be counter-productive for retailers to damage their relationship with suppliers in the ways which have been outlined”, the statement went on.
“The longstanding commitments to suppliers show the strength of the supermarket and supplier relationships. The Adjudicator presumably will take action if she thinks the code was breached.”