AUSTRALIA: Mitsubishi Electric Australia is to face a Federal court for allegedly engaging in resale price maintenance on its air conditioning units.

Resale price maintenance occurs when a supplier induces or attempts to induce a business customer to not resell or advertise goods or services below a minimum specified price.  In Australia, resale price maintenance is prohibited by section 48 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges that on three occasions between 2009 and 2011, Mitsubishi Electric Australia through the conduct of its senior managers induced and attempted to induce one of its dealers, Mannix Electrical Pty, not to sell Mitsubishi Electric branded air conditioning products at prices below a minimum specified price. The company is also accused of terminating Mannix’s ‘dealer’ status and reclassified it to ‘contractor’ status for reasons including Mannix’s failure to increase its prices of Mitsubishi Electric branded air conditioning products to the minimum specified price.

Mannix operates retail stores in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria as Mannix Airconditioning and Airconditioning Warehouse Sales.

The ACCC alleges that Mitsubishi Electric’s conduct was partly driven by complaints it received from other dealers it supplied, who were Mannix’s competitors.

The matter has been filed in the Federal Court’s South Australian registry, with a directions hearing listed for December 13.